Three friends and two dogs have had to be rescued after getting swept out to sea on an inflatable flamingo.
To celebrate her 30th birthday, Hollie Spence, her friend Lepa Sega, and her brother Nation Sega, set out on a 10ft inflatable pink flamingo float alongside their two dogs.
Their plan was to float about in a shallow area of White Sands beach in Kodiak, Alaska, on what was set to be a pleasant, sunny – if a little windy – day. The group had previously floated on the raft a year earlier, and hadn’t experienced any difficulties.
Check it out below:
The group had packed extra clothes, blankets, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for what they believed was going to be a relaxing afternoon, ABC7 reports.
However, they didn’t bring life jackets or paddles with them, with Spence believing they would have noticed straight away if they were getting too far out, and that they could have pulled themselves back.
Unfortunately, the wind and currents turned out to be far more powerful than they had anticipated, and the floating party was quickly swept out of the shallows and into Monashka Bay.
Spence told ABC7:
It was a little windy but I never thought in a million years we would be drug out so fast and so far.
Within the space of an hour, the float eventually stopped on some offshore rocks at the other side of Monashka Bay, and Alaska State Troopers and US Coast Guard were called to the rescue. However, the rescue effort was far from simple.
As the conditions were so treacherous, rescuers couldn’t get to the stranded party by boat, and so used a helicopter hoist to lift them to safety.
Taking to Facebook, the US Coast Guard Alaska wrote:
Alaska State Troopers and the #USCG worked together to determine that due to the treacherous circumstances, a helicopter hoist was the best option to bring these folks and their animals back to shore, safe and sound!
It was the scariest day of my life. I don’t think I’ll ever do something like this again.
Thankfully, aside from a few scrapes from the rocks, the group returned to shore relatively unscathed, without needing to go to hospital.