Sky Lanterns, sometimes called Chinese lanterns, are very beautiful when they float away on a gentle breeze, bright yellow against a dark sky. Some wedding planners are suggesting that they would enhance a couples special day, making the event one to remember, but if you think about them carefully, you will agree they are a hazard in every way.
When they float out to sea they are often reported as emergency flares and cause Sea Rescue hours of fruitless searching. There is no way that they cannot search … unless witnesses can be found who are 100 percent sure that the reported “flare” was a sky lantern and definitely not a flare.
Should the lantern float inland and come down before the fuel block is completely extinguished … it could cause a fire which could easily destroy property and perhaps lives.
Think of the tourist who carelessly threw a burning cigarette down on Table Mountain which set the entire mountain alight resulting in the death of a woman who was trapped by the flames.
People who set off the lanterns do so innocently, thinking only of the atmosphere they will create. But with the number of false alarms that Sea Rescue respond to – and turns out that the emergency flare is a sky lantern … they are asking people to please alert their friends to the dangers of these lanterns so that we can stop the use them before they cost someone their life.