No Chinese lanterns on the beach! - NSRI

2015-11-18 06:00
The NSRI has appealed to the public not to release Chinese lanterns from the beach. PHoto: FILE

The NSRI has appealed to the public not to release Chinese lanterns from the beach. PHoto: FILE

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PLEASE do not release Chinese lanterns on the beach!

This urgent request was again made by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) after members of the Port Elizabeth branch recently raced to “emergency flares” that seemed to have come from a boat at sea.

A little flame in the Chinese lanterns (a type of “flying box” of translucent rice paper) is lit before they are released to soar in the air.

A Bay resident who saw the “emergency flares” over Algoa Bay from a Summerstrand restaurant just before 8pm on Thursday night, had kept insisting that it was a distress signal, NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

Although Port Elizabeth NSRI members talked to car guards and other beachgoers at the Summerstrand beachfront and indeed received confirmation that a group of people had released about 10 Chinese lanterns across the water earlier in the evening, further investigation was conducted as the initial witness was convinced that the “distress signals” were from a boat.

“It was possible that the Chinese lanterns could have been released at exactly the same time a flare from a boat was sent,” Lambinon said.

“Consequently, we sent a lifeboat and even did an inspection at all the boat-launching sites to see if there were empty boat trailers or empty vehicles.

“The members also continued to watch the sea for any further distress signals, but there was nothing,” Lambinon said.

After the incident, the NSRI again appealed to the public to avoid releasing Chinese lanterns on the beach since they could be confused with emergency flares from a boat.

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