A child's Spiderman balloon sparked a major alert off the coast of Sunderland today.
Sunderland and Seaham Coastguard, along with both Sunderland Lifeboats and the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter, were called out this afternoon to reports of a parachutist in the water at Ryhope Dene.
A Coastguard spokesman said: "On arrival, officers spoke to the first informant who pointed out the object some distance out to sea.
"Using binoculars we identified the object as a Spiderman balloon. The balloon was recovered by the lifeboat to prevent any further call-outs.
"The incident was a false alarm with good intent and the person did the right thing to call us to confirm no one was in danger."