Local police and firefighters were called to the bluffs in Greenport Monday afternoon for reports of a glider crashing in the Long Island Sound.
But it turned out to be just a bundle of balloons, authorities said.
Marine units and a Suffolk County Police Department helicopter responded to the initial 911 call, which came in about 4:45 p.m., and immediately began searching the Sound waters east of Sound Road.
The search was called off after the balloons, 10 in all, were located about a mile off shore of Truman’s Beach, firefighters said.
Greenport Fire Department second lieutenant Jeff Weingart found the balloons in a civilian boat, he said, adding that from the area of Sound Road the bundle could have very well been mistaken for a hang glider.
Jack Skrezec, a Sound Road resident who was out walking his dog, said he believed he saw a glider splash down.
“I was waiting for the noisy engine,” he said of the object in the sky, on which he thought he spotted a man. “[It] just kept coming down, down, down. I thought,’He’s going to hit the water And he did.”
He said the object then began floating toward the east.
The balloons were half-inflated when firefighters scooped them from the water.
One read “Happy Birthday” and another was of a yellow smiley face.