A series of 999 calls were made to HM Coastguard yesterday from members of the public who couldn’t quite believe what they thought they were seeing out to sea off Penarth Esplanade this afternoon.
Both Penarth lifeboats were launched when cries of “Help!” were reported to have been heard off Penarth Pier and some callers also told coastguards they had seen “Portaloo” [ a type of portable lavatory as used on building sites] – floating out to sea and being taken in tow by a large motorboat. (It’s unclear whether whether the Portaloo was actually “Engaged” at the time ).
Penarth Coastguard officers eventually established that the cries for help were emanating from a film crew working in the area and that the floating “Portaloo” was all part of a movie stunt. The incident was logged as “false alarm with good intent”.
The two Penarth lifeboats however immediately switched carrying out an impromptu training exercise with Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187 which is based at St Athan. The helicopter just happened to be on its way back from another mission and gave the lifeboat crews and the aircrew a useful hour’s worth of training.
The RNLI says bystanders on the Esplanade were treated to an impromptu flying and winching display, as the crews honed their skills .