Volunteers dash 13 miles offshore after reports of possible capsized boat

The Dover Lifeboat crew were left feeling deflated late Friday afternoon, after the capsized boat they had launched to assist turned out to be a weather balloon.

The Lifeboat was requested after Dover Coastguard received several reports ships of a capsized small boat.

Once in the search area, some thirteen miles from Dover, a white object was sighted floating in the South-west lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme lanes. When the lifeboat got close enough it was possible to see the object was a large balloon.

The crew are becoming balloon connoisseurs. This was their second call out of 2009 that has been to a balloon. The first was in March and saw them being filmed by a television crew whilst recovering a large silver ‘C’ shaped party balloon.

Coxswain Mark Finnis said: “Whilst we were very glad no one was in trouble and were able to put into practice our search skills, I’m slightly worried about how many balloon jokes we are going to hear over the next few weeks – I’m sure there’ll be a few ‘floating’ about”.