COASTGUARD teams were left relieved after a reported person struggling in the water turned out to just be a balloon.

HM Coastguard Southend rushed to the scene of a ‘person struggling’ off Eastern Esplanade on Friday afternoon.

The call came in after what looked like a “possible person in difficulties struggling to get into a tumbling silver inflatable”.

RNLI Southend Lifeboat also launched their D-class lifeboat and both teams proceeded to the last known position reported.

The person was reported to be in the water about “half a mile off Thorpe Bay beach”.

An RNLI spokesman said: “HM Coastguard Southend On Sea was on scene with the first informant directing the RNLI lifeboat to the area of the sighting.

“The Southend Lifeboat volunteers very quickly spotted the casualty.

“On arrival at the location which was confirmed by HM Coastguard and the first informant, the RNLI volunteer crew found a silver party balloon drifting in an easterly direction out to sea.

“After retrieving the balloon and being confirmed as the correct target by HM Coastguard and the first informant, the team was stood down and returned to the station.

“The shout was noted as a false alarm with good intent.”