A SUNSOAKER drifting on a blow-up unicorn was among more than a dozen people who had to be rescued after their inflatables drifted into one the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Coastguards were called out to 18 separate incidents across the south, rescuing at least 15 people who had been blown out to sea.
The unicorn rider was found 400m out to sea after drifting away from Hayling Island. The Hayling Coastguard Rescue Team, Portsmouth and Hayling RNLI lifeboats and the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-the-Solent were dispatched.
Elsewhere, a man in a dinghy from Hayling and a person using a flamingo inflatable also wound up in difficulties.
Piers Stanbury, coastguard duty controller, said: ‘We can’t stress enough that these inflatables are not suitable for use in the sea. Tide conditions, the wind, any changes in the weather can just take them out beyond safe depths. Please, don’t use them, don’t take them to the seaside.’
‘Inflatables really should only be used in swimming pools, not at the coast where they can quickly go from being fun to being potentially deadly.’