Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 11:29 UK

Bemused rescuers pick up penguins

The rescue was sparked by inflatable penguins

A major air and sea search sparked by reports of a crashed plane off the Scottish coast was called off when two inflatable penguins were found.

An RAF rescue helicopter and a lifeboat were called out off Rosehearty, Buchan, after a member of the public reported a possible microlight crash.

However, the Fraserburgh lifeboat crew found two 3ft inflatable penguins.

Aberdeen Coastguard's Alan Shand said the sheen from the balloons may have caused the confusion.

The RAF Lossiemouth Sea King was scrambled on Tuesday afternoon to the incident about a quarter-of-a-mile off the coast, along with the lifeboat and three Coastguard teams .

Mr Shand told the BBC Scotland news website: "A member of the public called, thinking it was a crashed microlight, from the sheen.

"It was two large balloons. I can see why they mistook the balloons."

The incident was described as a well-intentioned false alarm.


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