The Initial Response Team, ‘IRT’, was tasked to Street in Somerset to assist with the search for a missing hot air balloon and its occupants. The balloon was reported as having caught fire and the crew seen jumping from basket. The Coastguard helicopter from Portland was also sent to the scene. The local fire brigade and police were also in attendance. The helicopter has specialist search and rescue capabilities including ‘FLIR’, ‘forward looking infra red’ which is especially useful in fading light conditions. Unfortunately none of the emergency services in attendance found any evidence of the balloon and no one had been reported missing. It may well have been a Chinese lantern seen at a distance.
Street is 40 miles north of Lyme Regis and is undoubtedly the furthest north the Lyme Coastguard have been sent in an emergency.