Lifeboat scrambled for plastic skeleton mistaken for human remains

Plastic rib cage mistaken for human remains Credit: PA

A coastguard rescue team was rushed into action after a human rib cage was spotted floating in the sea - which turned out to be a plastic skeleton.

Both Hampshire Police and the RNLI were scrambled on January 3 after the bobbing "bones" were reported by a member of the public in Southsea, Hampshire.

A spokesman for Portsmouth Coastguard said they were paged to reports of human remains in the water near to Clarence Pier.

But it turned out to be a life-size plastic skeleton torso.

"On scene with Hampshire Police the team were able to contact the first informant and obtain further information which lead to the object being sighted floating in the sea," the spokesman said.

"Portsmouth Lifeboat were paged as a precaution whilst the team secured the seafront and kept the item visual.

"Fortunately the coastguard team were able to secure the item from the shore and it was confirmed that what appeared to be human remains was actually a life-size plastic skeleton torso that had been discarded in the sea and the lifeboat was stood down before arriving on scene."

The spokesman added that the finding had turned out to be "not as bad as first appeared."

Portsmouth Lifeboat Station posted on Facebook: "Portsmouth lifeboat launched on service for the first time of 2016 to reports of a body in the water, thankfully it turned out to be a plastic mannequin."