Don't use Chinese lanterns, public warned

2011-12-22 12:00

Johannesburg - The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) on Thursday appealed to the public not to light up Chinese lanterns as they could be mistaken as a call for help.

"Chinese lanterns, once airborne and floating through the sky, are often mistaken by eyewitnesses as red distress flares," the NSRI said in a statement.

The appeal follows an incident in Still Bay in the Western Cape on Wednesday night in which dozens of lanterns were set off from the beach.

"Multiple reports of red distress flares sighted were received by the emergency services only to be found, on investigation, to have been Chinese lanterns."

The NSRI said not only could the lanterns create alarm, they were also a fire hazard and had been known on occasion to ensnare animals in their wire frame.

Chinese lanterns are made out of a balsa wood or thin wire frame, a paper shell and a candle or burning device in the centre.

The candle is lit allowing the generation of heat to send the lantern skyward where it floats through the sky (similar to a hot air balloon) until the candle burns out and the structure falls to the ground.

"The practice of setting off Chinese lanterns into the sky is irresponsible behaviour and we are urgently appealing to the public to refrain from this practice," said the NSRI.

  • frans.grobler3 - 2011-12-22 12:53

    Put a rope on it, use only during the day and you can use it again and again etc - don't take the fun away control it.

      Kala - 2011-12-22 13:12

      Or change the colour of the lantern.

      Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 13:56

      Useing them during the day defeats the purpose of the light den. Myt as well fly a kyte.

      Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 13:57

      Using them during the day defeats the purpose of the light den. Might as well fly a kyte.

      Nic - 2011-12-22 13:59

      Its a lantern, not a kite.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2011-12-22 14:06

      They wont float if you put a rope on them!!!

      Tony - 2011-12-22 14:28

      Can think of something else beggining with J and ending with S that i wouldnt mind putting a rope on.... Its round and suppoertrd by China...

  • Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 13:16

    Im sorry culture means nothing to them. If u see 20 lanterns in the air surely u will know it isn't a distress call. A flare looks completely different and doesn't float, and 20 of them aren't shot up at once.

      Wall - 2011-12-22 13:38

      But it's still pollution. (Unless controlled, like Frans suggested.)

      Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 13:54

      What about all that pollution comming out of our cars then? Should we all stop driving?

  • Nic - 2011-12-22 13:38

    Seriously....we use them instead of NSRI...what do you prefer... All I can say is prepared for a lot of FLARES on New Years. Idiots

  • Tony - 2011-12-22 14:26

    Hey - be careful. If the Chinese see this, the Chinese puppet masters will slap Zuma silly...... Cant be saying anything bad about our new colonial masters... Maybe we should call these things Tibetan lanterns instead??

  • Mary - 2011-12-22 14:47

    Setting a live flame free is the height of irresponsibility. Even if done on a beach, a sudden change of wind could cause a raging fire. Just what we need!

      Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 15:08

      Then its the winds fault. Each person to there own. If u don't like chinese lanterns then don't use them. I enjoy them so I will use them.

      Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 15:15

      Its also irresponsible to drive around polluting our planet and destroying our future? But we do it anyway.

  • danie.dewaal - 2011-12-22 16:10

    Are they serious about this? I really cannot see how anyone cannot distinguish between a lantern and a flare.

      Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 16:31

      I know right? A lantern is yellow, a flare is red. A lander floats up slowly n eventually goes out. A flare shoots up wildly and comes down faster than the lantern

  • Mitchell Nortje - 2011-12-22 16:39

    They should spend less time giving useless announcements and more time training their members as well as the public about the difference between a lantern and a flare

  • TheWatcher - 2011-12-22 16:47

    I'm thinking of building one for fun. But I'm going to tether it with some fishing line which should be light enough to let it float a little ways up

  • Soetdoring - 2011-12-22 17:55

    If organised properly, it could be a very spectacular event.

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