Quirky World: Coastguard scrambles for doll false alarm

Some of the stranger stories from around the world.

ENGLAND: Lifeboats searched for more than 90 minutes following a 999 call reporting a person struggling in the water — only to find it was an inflatable doll.

RNLI lifeboat volunteers, a coastguard rescue team, and a rescue helicopter all responded to the call after a rock-angler dialled 999 to report a person in the water near the Huer’s Hut, just to the north of Newquay Harbour in Cornwall.

Both inshore lifeboats from Newquay RNLI spent more than 90 minutes searching in the dark, before the doll was discovered in the water by the rescue helicopter and recovered from the middle of Newquay Bay by the RNLI volunteers.

New Beatrix Potter tale


A story written by children’s author Beatrix Potter more than 100 years ago is to be published in September.

The manuscript, titled The Tale Of Kitty-In-Boots, was rediscovered two years ago by publisher Jo Hanks. Artist Quentin Blake, best known for illustrating Roald Dahl’s books, will be doing the drawings for the tale.

Two years ago Ms Hanks, publisher of Beatrix Potter’s works for Penguin Random House, found a reference to the manuscript in a out-of-print literary history about the author.

The book referred to a letter that Potter had sent her publisher in 1914, in which she mentioned the new story and described it as being about “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life”.

Running for water in desert


A campaigner is setting out to run 40 marathons across deserts on seven continents in seven weeks to raise awareness of global water scarcity.

Mina Guli, founder and chief executive of educational water conservation charity Thirst, said she was taking on the “crazy” challenge to show people the threat the world faces from a lack of water.

The 45-year-old Australian’s expedition to run more than 1,000 miles (1,609km) through deserts in Spain, Jordan, Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, Chile, and the USA comes amid warnings that demand for water will outstrip supply by 40% in 15 years.

Niagara trickle


New York officials are considering temporarily turning Niagara Falls into a trickle.

State officials are holding a public hearing to discuss plans for replacing 115-year-old bridges linking the mainland to islands near the brink of Niagara Falls. To do so, they might reduce the flow on the American side of the falls by building a temporary structure to redirect Niagara River water to the Canadian side.

The state parks and transportation departments said in an October report that the two concrete arch bridges need to be replaced. They provide pedestrian access to Goat Island for millions of visitors each year.

A public hearing is being held at the Niagara Falls Convention Centre.

Neighbourhood prowl


Three people have been charged with public endangerment over an incident in which a lioness escaped from a home in a Dubai neighbourhood and prowled the streets for several hours.

Police said the owner of the lioness, the buyer and a middleman have been charged after the lioness escaped in the al-Barsha neighbourhood.

She was safely caught and taken to the zoo.

It is largely illegal to keep endangered or threatened wildlife as pets in the United Arab Emirates. However, unnamed officials said that “exceptions are made for members of the ruling family or anyone who has official authorisation and a permit”.

Keeping wild animals as pets is seen as a status symbol in the Gulf Arab states.

Grand achievement


A man has logged the fastest Grand Canyon river trip on record, battling blisters and rapids as he paddled his kayak down a 277-mile (446km) stretch of the Colorado River in 34 hours and two minutes.

Ben Orkin reached the end of his journey exhausted after navigating the water in the dark and swimming part of it when a rapid toppled his kayak. Mr Orkin beat a record set last week by more than an hour and a previous one set by three men in a non-motorised boat in 1983, according to Tom Martin, secretary of the Grand Canyon Historical Society.

Storm chasers


Texans Steve and Kathleen Yarborough weren’t quite like the other travellers stuck in New York last weekend: They came to the city because of the big snowstorm.

“I’m a weather nerd,” the husband said in an upbeat tone as the couple waited for a return flight to Houston. “I came out to see the storm.”

Steve Yarborough, a Texas born and bred aviation data specialist, said that in Houston, the closest he gets to snow is on the aviation maps he pores over.

When he saw the weekend storm building up, he said he and his wife booked a flight to see it first hand. They got onto the last United Airlines flight to leave Houston for New York.

“People thought we were crazy,” he said. “I just like snow, because we don’t see it ever,” he said.


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