The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Caller stuck his neck out for right reasons
Forth: ‘Aircraft’ ditching in the river turned out to be a giant giraffe balloon
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super-giraffe! A large giraffe-shaped balloon nearly prompted a full scale rescue in the Forth as a well-meaning member of the public thought he witnessed a plane crash.
Thinking an aircraft ditched in the river, he called emergency services.
But a potential tragedy soon turned to comedy – and the aircraft turned out to be a flyaway helium balloon.
A coastguard spokesman said the call, made at 9.50 on Tuesday morning as fog enveloped the Firth of Forth, had been made in good faith.
“The man who called wasn’t trying to mislead us. He saw it and he thought it was an aircraft,” he said.
The caller reported seeing a light aircraft or a glider ditching in the water near the coast at Inverkeithing.
The South Queensferry lifeboat crew was tasked with investigating.
But they did not need to launch a lifeboat as it was quickly ascertained all that had come to a watery end was an animal balloon.
But the member of the public should not feel too upset at his mistake, for it is not the first time a toy has been mistaken for … well, for anything really.
Four years ago a “Teddy Bear” caused a furore when holidaymakers thought a lion had forsaken the plains of Africa for Essex.
With 25 police officers and firearms experts hunting the king of the jungle, one pet owner had a rather more mundane explanation.
It was her Maine Coon cat called Teddy Bear, which regularly wandered into the fields where the “lion” was spotted.
But that’s nothing compared to another big beast which sparked a major alert in Hampshire.
With experts armed with tranquiliser darts to calm a white “Tiger”, a nearby cricket match was suspended, and golfers on a neighbouring course were escorted off the fairways.
But then came a breakthrough – it wasn’t real. What gave the (big) game away? Not the latest thermal imaging equipment which found the beastie didn’t give off any heat , nor the fact it didn’t appear to be moving. At all.
No, what solved it was when the “Tiger” was blown over by the down draft from the police helicopter.
“But they did not need to launch a lifeboat as it was quickly ascertained all that had come to a watery end was an animal balloon