At approximately 20h30 on Saturday the 20th of July Shelly Beach volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of a suspected red distress flare sighted by numerous eye-witnesses in the vicinity between Shelly Beach and Port Shepstone.
During a preliminary investigation, which involved activating our crew to act as spotters in the area along the coastline and investigating slip-ways along the coast to determine where, if any, boats may still be at sea, it was determined that the suspected red distress flare was in fact a Chinese lantern that had been set off from somewhere in the vicinity.
The NSRI continue to appeal to the public not to set off Chinese lanterns along the coastline as they are most often mistaken as red distress flares.
In a recent incident in the United Kingdom, that has been much publicized, a chinese lantern landed on a plastics factory causing a blaze at the plastics factory. This highlights an additional danger that chinese lanterns may pose.
At 20h30 (Sunday, 21st July) NSRI Durban volunteer sea rescue duty crew and eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services were activated following reports of suspected red distress flares sighted off-shore of Amanzimtoti.
On preliminary investigations it was determined that what had been sighted was in fact 4 chinese lanterns that had been set off along the coastline which gave the appearance of red distress flares.
NSRI appeal to the public not to set off chinese lanterns along the coastline as most often they are mistaken as red distress flares.