The parents of a child whose life was saved by the RNLI after she drifted out to sea have sent the rescuers a bill for the £7 lilo.
The girl had drifted out to sea on the inflatable and a £7,000 rescue mission was launched to save her.
The rescue helicopter was even roped in to get the girl back to safety off the coast of Cornwall.
But the heroic rescuers were stunned to be sent an invoice by the girl’s mum and dad, Bristol Live reports.
Mike Carter, president of the RNLI branch, said a rescue helicopter had to be used to save the youngster when she got into a precarious situation.
A crew member then jumped into the water to save the girl, but left her inflatable lilo in the water off Porthleven.
Mike said: “A family visiting Porthleven purchased a lilo from a local shop and went to the beach.
“There was an off-shore wind and the parents immediately experienced their child waving goodbye as the lilo went further and further out.
“The coastguard scrambled the SAR helicopter which was soon on scene.
“The diver jumped from the the helicopter and saved the child. He instantly put a knife through the lilo to save any further drifting and they were both winched to safety.”
After receiving the invoice, Mike said the rescuer replied saying they would happily pay – if the family paid for the cost of launching the helicopter.
He said: “Two weeks later the commanding officer of 771 received a request to pay an invoice for £7 the cost of the lilo.
“The CO wrote replying: ‘I will be happy to pay your invoice on receipt of payment for the helicopter rescue £7,000.’ No response was received.”
Mike said inflatables in the sea pose a constant threat, and only last week the Maritime and Coastguard Agency posted a similar warning.
They said: “Inflatable unicorns, watermelons, dinosaurs, you name it, we’ve seen it.
“Keep your floating friends for the pool. They may pose well for Insta, but they can also pose a danger when up against strong currents and wind, sweeping you out to sea.
“Remember, supervise kids and call #999Coastguard if you spot an inflatable drifting at sea or yours gets blown away.”