Superhero balloon mistaken for man stranded at sea

A rescue operation was launched after a member of the public reported a parachutist in the sea - but it turned out to be a Spider-Man balloon.

Two RNLI lifeboats, the Sunderland and Seaham Coastguard teams and the Coastguard rescue helicopter were called out just after 3.30pm on Sunday when the alarm was raised about someone in the sea at Ryhope Dene.

Using binoculars they managed to identify the object as a Spider-Man balloon. Credit: RNLI

An RNLI spokesman said: