Warning issued after man using inflatable unicorn rescued hundreds of metres from shore

A man on an inflatable unicorn became stranded at sea after he was blown hundreds of metres from the shore.

The man was 400 metres from land when he ran into difficulty off Hayling Island, Hampshire.

He drifted into the path of ferries near the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour – one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Rescue teams from across the area, including Hayling Coastguard Rescue Team, Portsmouth and Hayling RNLI lifeboats and a coastguard rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent.

He was also helped by a passing kayaker.

It comes as rescue bosses issued a warning to those using inflatables, after 15 people had to be rescued in separate incidents involving inflatables on July 2 across the south coast.

One involved an inflatable dinghy, also in Hayling Island, while another involved a flamingo inflatable.

Some of these incidents resulted from abandoned inflatables, which were then reported by concerned members of the public.

The Coastguard then had to conduct search operations to ensure that no one was at risk.

HM Coastguard duty controller Piers Stanbury says: “We’ve had people rescued from a number of beaches along Hampshire and Sussex coastline.

“Each one of them had been using an inflatable. Thankfully, everyone so far has been rescued and is safe.

“We’ve had to waste RNLI and Coastguard volunteers’ time to ensure that abandoned inflatables did not have anyone at risk associated with them.

“We can’t stress enough that these inflatables are not suitable for use in the sea. Tide conditions, the wind, any changes in the weather can just take them out beyond safe depths.

“Please, don’t use them, don’t take them to the seaside. Inflatables really should only be used in swimming pools, not at the coast where they can quickly go from being fun to being potentially deadly.”

Story from the Southern Daily Echo

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