Men float out to sea on giant blow-up duck as coastguards issue warning about inflatables
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Coastguards have issued a warning about inflatables in the sea after they rescued two men who had drifted out to sea on a giant duck. Appledore RNLI were taking part in a training exercise when they were diverted to Westward Ho! Beach after receiving a call from the public that the inflatable was drifting off shore.
An eyewitness reported that three men pumped up the giant duck before taking it out into the sea, with one friend on board a kayak. After 5 minutes the pair had drifted 75 metres out to sea, with their friend trying to push them back towards the shoreline.
The coastguard was then called as the duck floated 200 metres out into the Bristol channel and the kayaker was unable to help bring them back to safety. A member of the public on a paddleboard also took to the water to try and bring the men back to shore.
Despite struggling against the current, the paddleboarder managed to tow the inflatable closer to show where the men jumped off the giant duck and swam back to the beach. The inflatable was then immediately blown back out to sea.
An inshore lifeboat arrived at the beach just as the men had made it back to shore safely, with crew member Del Elsemore swimming out to check that everyone was okay. Elsemore told the RNLI news page: “The quick thinking of this member of the public with a paddleboard prevented a nasty situation turning much worse. He was the real lifesaver of the day.”
The lifeboat team then returned to their training exercise with their apprentice crew member Quackers. Strong tides and offshore breezes are common in the Bristol Channel with Appledore RNLI urging people never to take an inflatable toy into the sea.
The service warned that there is no way to control inflatables, which can easily get pulled out from the beach within seconds. Appledore RNLI also shared that if you see someone getting into difficulty in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.