At 13h54 on Sunday the 27th of July, NSRI Simon's Town volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports made by an eye-witness to Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services of a suspected paraglider or microlight crashed into the sea between 500 meters and a kilometer off Sunny Cove Station, Fish Hoek.Our NSRI Simon's Town volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft EDDIE BEAUMONT II and our sea rescue vehicle responded by road.The local sailing yacht COMPROMISE, carrying an NSRI volunteer, that was in the area at the time, responded and WC Government Health EMS and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services were placed on alert.By that stage multiple reports from eye-witnesses had been received of what they believed to be the same thing and some eye-witnesses reported seeing what they thought was a person in the water by the 'downed aircraft’ which was being blown further out to sea.
On arrival on-scene a search commenced but no sign of a 'downed aircraft’ could be found and the Skymed Rescue helicopter was activated but prior to the rescue helicopter getting airborne rescuers came across 15 Happy Birthday balloons tied together floating in the water about 1.5 nautical miles off-shore and being blown out to sea.This has been confirmed to be what eye-witnesses had seen and it is understandable that at the distances involved it looked likely to be a crashing para glider or microlight aircraft and the good intentions of the eye-witnesses are commended.The balloons have been recovered from the water and brought to our Simon's Town sea rescue station but it remains unknown where they came from.
this picture is available on Sea Rescue's Flickr page.
Eddie Beaumont II returns with the balloons. Picture by Chops Craig.