Liverpool Coastguard received a telephone call just after 3pm on Wednesday 6 August 2014 from the company Ullswater Steamers stating that they’d been told a paraglider had ditched in the water.
Boats on the lake were told about the situation and all vessels belonging to the Ullswater Steamer company along with two private vessels were asked to head to the scene. The Maryport Coastguard Rescue Team and the Mountain Rescue Teams from Penrith and Patterdale were also sent to investigate along with police units in the area. A search and rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer was also called in to assist and carry out searches over the lake.
The Tornado, a power boat on the lake, reported that they had come across a large balloon, approximately 1 metre by 1.5 metres that could well have been mistaken at a glance for a paragliders wing. After a thorough search of the area had been completed, Liverpool Coastguard stood units down once satisfied nobody was in the water.
Lucy Hicks, Watch Manager at Liverpool Coastguard, said:
We wanted to make sure that there was nobody in difficulty at Ullswater this afternoon and carried out a thorough search. We now believe that the incident was a false alarm with good intent and the culprit was indeed this balloon.
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind those carrying out these types of activities, including paragliding, that you ensure the appropriate authorities are aware of your location and intentions.
Paragliders should also be aware of wind conditions and local anomalies within the area of the lake as it is surrounded by high fells, and beware that gusts can create a downdraft and possibly cause a glider to ditch.
If you spot anyone in difficulty on the water or at the coast, remember to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.