NSRI are appealing to the public to not set off Chinese Lanterns.
Chinese Lanterns floating in the sky can present a similar appearance to distress flares. Eye-witness reports of distress flares sighted off-shore around the coastline require the NSRI and the emergency services to launch a full scale search and rescue operation without hesitation and even when the sighting may later be confirmed to have been Chinese lanterns a search operation can continue for quite some time until it can be absolutely confirmed that no persons or craft at sea may be in any difficulty.
At 00h11, Sunday. 17th January, NSRI Bakoven duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following eye-witnesses reporting suspected distress flares fired in succession off-shore of Bantry Bay. At least 8 (what was thought to be) distress flares were reported by various eye-witnesses along the Atlantic Seaboard sighted off-shore of Bantry Bay.
While the NSRI Bakoven duty crew responded to the Bakoven sea rescue base to prepare sea rescue craft to be launched NSRI spotters were dispatched to Bantry Bay to investigate and the eye-witnesses were interviewed and it was confirmed that the suspected distress flares sighted off-shore of Bantry Bay were Chinese lanterns.
It remains unknown who set off these Chinese lanterns in that area or for what reason.
The eye-witnesses are commended for alerting NSRI to what may very well have been distress flares because the appearance of Chinese lanterns is similar to distress flares when deployed into the sky. To rule out all possibilities the situation continued to be monitored throughout the morning and NSRI Bakoven duty controllers are confident that there are no persons or craft in any distress in the area.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE
SMS 32287 (R1/sms) with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew