What item caused multiple 999 calls and a coastguard callout in Workington?

010821 Coastguard

A mysterious item floating in the water caused much confusion that it led to multiple 999 calls and the coastguard being called out.

Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team received a report of concern for a floating object spotted in the water close to the shore at Shore Road, Salterbeck, Workington. 

The team arrived at the scene prepared to conduct a water rescue if necessary, on 22 July.

But before they could reach the object, the first informant called back to say the item had washed ashore, and was in fact a large inflatable champagne bottle.

Several more emergency calls came in after, reporting that a person had been pulled from the water in the Salterbeck area and CPR was in progress.

The team was unable to contact the first informant to clarify the situation, so they immediately set off on foot to search for and attend to the possible casualty.

Additional assistance from North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Cumbria Police had also been requested.

Eventually the team discovered that the first informant was pressing down and deflating the large inflatable champagne bottle on the beach – which is what had been witnessed by others who had made 999 calls reporting CPR was in progress. 

Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team said: "Whilst some may perceive this was a waste of resources, we want to stress that all informants done exactly the right thing in reporting their concerns via 999 Coastguard. On a future occasion, these actions may just save a life.

"With the tide more than half way out and the waterline a considerable distance away from those who sighted this, we fully appreciate that this could have looked like someone performing CPR.

"We would much rather the Coastguard Coordination Centre be informed on 999 to task and coordinate the appropriate assets to attend, finding it's a false alarm with good intent, than it not be reported and someone was in need."

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