back to article Hero Playmonaut lost at sea as SPEARS ditches in Channel

It's with heavy hearts that we report the loss of the Special Project Bureau's heroic playmonaut, after the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) balloon launch on Saturday ended in the English Channel off the coast of Sussex. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic The flight was intended to test the …

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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    But did it fire?

    > test the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board at altitude - specifically to see if it would fire the igniter

    Was there any telemetry to say whether the firing took place - or will this need another test flight?

    1. bigphil9009

      Re: But did it fire?

      Agreed - it would be good to know if the mission goal was reached or not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A Lego man would have made it back.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More importantly...

    Where do we sign the onlin Book of Condolence for our dear, departed hero (denominational leader of choice) rest his soul.

    1. James O'Brien
      Pint

      He will be missed

      It is with heavy heart I write this. I will be hoisting a pint in honor of our fallen compatriot later this evening.

      *On a side note we don't have a backup pilot for LOHAN?

    2. Irony Deficient

      O Ludonauta, requiescas in pace!

      Lacrimosa dies illa,

      Qua resurget ex favilla

      Judicandus homunculus.

      Huic ergo parce, Deus.

      Pie Jesu Domine,

      Dona ei requiem.

      Amen.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Go

        Re: O Ludonauta, requiescas in pace!

        Scene: flagellating monks

        Pie Jesu Domine,

        <fx="*Thwack*">

        Dona ei requiem.

        <fx="*Thwack*">

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Angel

    RIP

    Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this brave and pioneering Playmonaut who has done so much in following the manifest destiny of Plamobil to conquer the sun and the stars, if not, unfortunately the sea.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: RIP

      At least he made the most of his last shore leave!!

      Live fast, die young

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RIP

        "Live fast, die young"

        Who's to say he died?

        Does Playmobil float?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RIP

          Not in the bath

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: RIP

      Not so fast!

      He's exploring the depths!

      Onwards and downwards- yoho!

  4. Pavelow

    Glad to see...

    ...the asembley team were eating the right biscuits

  5. Phil E Succour
    Linux

    Perhaps next time...

    ...the playmobile pirate should ride the balloon as he'll be better qualified to deal with unscheduled interactions with the sea.

    <--- as is he

  6. AdamT

    Wow, it's dusty in here again? Really making my eyes water...

  7. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    Maybe too soon to suggest it?

    Lego should have a turn now?

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Maybe too soon to suggest it?

      Oi, there's a pile of firewood and a stake in the middle for heretics like you!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Maybe too soon to suggest it?

        Oi! That's booked for those using unsmoked bacon in their butties. Get yer own.

        1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Maybe too soon to suggest it?

          Must agree TeeCee, not only unsmoked bacon but compounded by the sacrilege of using the word muffin in the same sentence as bacon buttie and no butter either! Where will it all end I ask?

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Unhappy

    From injection mould to watery grave

    Alas, what price the advancement of science?

    FIP

    Float in peace

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Pint

    An epic saga indeed

    Just epic!

    I shall follow this continuing saga, forgetting not those who fell in the pursuit of glory.

    I do not doubt the playmonaut was taken (by Valkyrie) to a place in the great hall of Valhalla, the only fitting place for a hero of his stature. I shall raise a horn filled to the brim with my best mead this evening, or failing that a tot of finest Usge beatha!

  10. JayBizzle
    Mushroom

    I feel a corporate manslaughter charge coming on.....

  11. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Megaphone

    "tethered to the structure with a safety line"

    That's why heroic Playmonaut drowned. You killed it!

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: "tethered to the structure with a safety line"

      SPB must not combine with H&S...

  12. Blofeld's Cat
    Unhappy

    Phoenix...

    Fear not, a new Playmonaut will rise, Stig-like, from the wreck...

    Presumably SPEARS 2 will have a drop the payload now button, and/or a flotation device, hopefully in the form of a couple of airbags.

    1. Phil E Succour
      Childcatcher

      Re: Phoenix...

      >>>hopefully in the form of a couple of airbags.

      You mean Bulgarian airbags??? Now that would make the mission video MUCH more interesting...

  13. Annihilator
    Pirate

    Hydrogen?

    Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator

    When did the switch to hydrogen happen?

    God speed Playmonaut - I like to think you're not lost and are riding LOHAN hard across the channel towards Paris.

    1. daveake

      Re: Hydrogen?

      When I was asked to help.

      Helium is for softies.

      1. Annihilator
        Happy

        Re: Hydrogen?

        "Helium is for softies."

        Indeed, such was the frequent point made in the forums/comments sections and disregarded every time. Glad it's changed, just surprised there wasn't a browbeaten article from Lester :-)

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: Hydrogen?

          Contrary to what you lot might think, I don't discriminate against elements for no reason, although I'll admit I prefer the company of noble gases.

          1. Silverburn

            Re: Hydrogen?

            Don't forget the tree-hugging smugness you get from hydrogen - which is abundant, manufacturable from solar, and fun in a flammable way - compared to "once it's gone it's gone" helium.

            1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Hydrogen?

              SPB is soft-peddling the diplomatically sensitive decision by a jealous NASA to not allow U.S. helium to be used by "the competition".

              Hoisting a glass in memory of Playmonaut, but he'll be immortalized on the wall of Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club...

          2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Hydrogen?

            Noble gas is lazy gas. Boooring! ;-)

            But won't that be a serious dent in the proper boffins' appearance? (see icon)

  14. SW

    Wot no butter...?

    Are you men or mice, SPB eating BBs without butter!

    Nay, and again I say Nay to the dry butties...

    1. SuperTim
      Mushroom

      Re: Wot no butter...?

      No. the fat from the bacon and a suitable amount of sauce would be all the lubrication your throat needs. Butter is for people who auto-spread any piece of bread without thinking. I like the muffin twist in this episode, as I have been bettering the bland McOffering for several years with suitable inclusion of a quality cheese, better sausagemeat/bacon and the delicious inclusion of a slice of crispy black pudding (SuperTimuffins). Maybe there is another breakfast competition in the offing, but in the mean time it may be wiser to let the beast sleep.

      1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Wot no butter...?

        Well sir, apart from the neglect of butter and the inclusion of muffin in favor of bread (pita works but need egg as well) you are getting on the right track. I trust you don't actually buy a McMuffin and put other stuff in, more illegal than Muffin the Mule in my book.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wot no butter...?

        No. the fat from the bacon and a suitable amount of sauce would be all the lubrication your throat needs. Butter is for people who auto-spread any piece of bread without thinking.

        I think you'll find butter is for people who prefer not to eat tomato flavoured sucrose-fructose syrup. ;-)

  15. fawlty
    Coat

    fitting

    Fitting that a boatload of Seamen was used in the recovery process.

    I'll get my coat.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: fitting

      wrong icon, methinks...

  16. Arachnoid

    Maybe the addition of a self inflating life vest and beacon to the next legonaught to take a leap of faith with your team may at least increase their chance of survival in similar water situations.

    1. graeme leggett

      equipment revision list for Playmonaut No. 2

      Water immersion triggered safety line separation

      positive buoyancy device (piece of polystyrene foam)

      waterproof luggage label "if found please call........."

      of course there's a chance that a battered and faded Playmonaut No1 will turn up on a coast some day and someone will wonder where he came from (imagines plastic amnesiac in Dutch boy's toybox)

      I do know of an expert in tidal flows around the UK....hmmm might know where the little fellow could be found.

  17. ukgnome Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A poem by Words of Art 2008

    Floating endlessly on the waves

    The shore no longer beckons

    Surrounded by the billows and gales

    A force with which he reckons

    Longing and anguish fills his heart

    Faces fill his mind

    As the sun and salt beat down and sting

    He holds tight and waits for a sign

    Those he left are lifting prayers

    To the unseen One above

    He prays himself as he holds on

    And tries to feel their love

    Never has loneliness held such meaning

    Nor sorrow held such weight

    What he would give out on this sea

    To know his ending fate

    Should he give in to sleep or fight it back

    Cry for help or mercy

    Relive his memories or stay alert

    Oh would that help would hurry!

    The day is done, the sun rides low

    O'er all the salty waves

    Tomorrow is another day to fight

    And pray that he'll be saved.

    Goodbye playmonaut - your sacrifice will not go unnoticed.

  18. Pete4000uk

    Its sad that the payload and playmonaut were lost at sea, But it was fun tracking the baloon and watching the car chase!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High Flight

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

    My eager craft through footless halls of air....

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

    - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: High Flight

      From Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus by William Carlos Williams

      unsignificantly

      off the coast

      there was

      a splash quite unnoticed

      this was

      Icarus drowning

    2. Colin Miller

      Re: High Flight

      As the Sun breaks above the ground

      A playmonaut stands on the hill

      As the ground warms to the first rays of light

      A birdsong shatters the still

      His eyes are ablaze

      See the madman in his gaze

      Fly, on your way, like an eagle

      Fly as high as the Sun

      On your way, like an eagle

      Fly, touch the Sun

      Iron Maiden - Flight of Icarus

  20. Penguin
    Thumb Up

    Harmless?

    "Harmless Scientific Experiment" ? Say that to the poor plastic person that you just deep sixed.

    That is some pretty impressive distance covered, how much flight time did you actually achieve? When I read the headline my first instinct was "Why would anyone do this experiment so close to the sea." When I actually saw the track I ate my own words. No one would think of Newbury as "Costal".

    1. El Richard Thomas
      Coat

      Re: I always assumed that...

      'No one would think of Newbury as "Costal"'

      I'm surprised you haven't taken a ribbing for that one.

  21. Dave Pickles

    Still a chance?

    It was mentioned on the IRC channel that there was a dredger in the area of the splashdown, which seemed to make a detour from its previous route to investigate. Is there any hope that the Plucky Playmonaut was plucked to safety?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Still a chance?

      We're investigating a report that a survey vessel was very close to the splashdown.

      1. Havin_it
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Still a chance?

        Check the vessel's registered owners. Watch out for the names Stromberg, Largo or Carver...

    2. daveake

      Re: Still a chance?

      Waiting on a reply from the dredger crew.

      1. daveake
        Unhappy

        Re: Still a chance?

        Captain of the Confidante says ... "Sorry, nothing seen"

        1. imanidiot Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Still a chance?

          Just FYI, the ship in question was the "Confidante", a 137 ton Gardline survey vessel based out of Shoreham. Too bad they didn't see anything. The timing and location were REALLY close...

          I raise a pint to our heroic playmonaut

  22. Thomas 4

    o7

    Fear not, sweet commentards, for our Playmonaut's mission has not ended in failure. Suitably equipped for the task, he now explores the mysteries of the ocean deeps, his survival suit and plastic resolve allowing him to brave pressures and depths that mere humans cannot withstand. He gazes out across an inky void of abyssal mountains and chasms, seeing creatures unknown to science.

    Godspeed, brave aquanaut.

  23. Chris007
    Happy

    I hear that our intrepid hero had a Twin

    or was he part of triplets or some unknown cult creating clones...

    Whichever I feel we'll be seeing another hero soon

  24. Tel Starr
    Mushroom

    Saboteur

    Not convinced that we've lost our original hero. I think there's some doppelganging at work.

    I always thought there was something a bit dodgy about 'Mr Yellow'. Would our stylish all-action hero really wear something so gaudy? Did you check him for a goatee before sending him up?

    How else can you explain things going so disastrously wrong if not an inside job?

    I'm betting the saboteur is having a chuckle at us from his undersea volcanic lair, off the Isle of Wight, where our heroic space cadet is being held captive after imbibing a laced cocktail.

  25. Mako

    Seems the Playmonaut's history is following the Stig's. A change of uniform colour, being launched into the sea...

    1. Martin Budden

      ...soon he'll write an autobiography and reveal his true identity, thus ruining it for everyone and proving once and for all that even people with really cool jobs (e.g. ex-Special Forces racing drivers) can be total dicks.

  26. graeme leggett

    An idea

    Some sort of network of volunteers - experienced sailors naturally - on the coast ready to set forth should subsequent ascents look to be heading out over the briney. And for no consideration other than the fame and glory of being part of a great endeavour. And one or more virtual (or even real) pints from Registrar readers.

    Perhaps http://www.airsearescue441.com/ is available.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Pint

      Re: Another idea

      Shame you couldn't get some kind of Royal Charter or something...I hear one of Them is an SAR pilot. If you'd made the extra effort to get him interested in the project, maybe...oh, wait -- he's got something else on his mind right now, doesn't he?

      Well, it was a good idea. Better luck next time, guys!

      (and thanks for the stroy, tracking, photos, videos, etc, so we could follow along)

  27. rurwin
    Pint

    Congratulations on a successful flight. Commiserations on a less than successful landing.

    Maybe the next version should come equipped for a watery landing. After all, you can't get a launch site much further from the sea. If the box had a weight on the bottom and a carbon fibre mast with waterproof GPS/radio, and maybe a light, at the top, the chances are that it would continue sending after splashdown, and be more visible.

    1. graeme leggett

      Could also be a chance to get a record for highest altitude achieved by a model boat. Assuming one of the ISS-nauts didn't take Airfix's Victory with him to pass the hours.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Commiserations on a less than successful landing."

      A good landing is any landing you can walk....oh!

      Yes, the one with the towel...

  28. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Maybe this is the right time to send your condolences...

    ..to the country of Playmobil-Funpark, a small enclave inside of Germany.

    http://www.playmobil-funpark.de/en/node/201

    Their postal address (they don't seem to have much of an own postal service) is:

    PLAYMOBIL®-FunPark

    Brandstätterstraße 2-10

    90513 Zirndorf

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: Maybe this is the right time to send your condolences...

      That's in Germany, again they are using the German postal system for practical reason.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Maybe this is the right time to send your condolences...

      "Playmobil-Funpark"

      If that's got anything to do with our Playmonaut, I have to say that being dropped from 70,000m into a wintery English Channel is a novel usage of the word "fun".

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: Maybe this is the right time to send your condolences...

        I don't think this is the right time to mock the home country of our hero Playmonaut. They probably had to change their name to attract more tourists. Tourism is the main industry by far in "Playmobil-Funpark".

  29. Nada

    Can I suggest that the next test be launched from Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire? Just to be on the safe side...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coton_in_the_Elms

    1. Phil E Succour
      Unhappy

      Probably wouldn't help much...

      >>>Can I suggest that the next test be launched from Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire? Just to be on the safe side...

      >>>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coton_in_the_Elms

      That reference says Coton in the Elms is 70 miles from water, and my estimate of the straight line distance from launch to splashdown is around 72 to 73 miles.

      But it's all irrelevant anyway, you could go much more than 70 miles from both Brightwalton and Coton in the Elms and still be over dry land, it just depends which direction you go. The prediction based on a wind forecast was that it would travel south but fall well short of the coast. It didn't. Shit happens.

  30. Vulch
    Pint

    Delayed parachute

    Could SPEARS be enhanced so that after firing the rocket on the way up it either un-reefs the existing parachute or deploys a larger one when it crosses a threshold on the way down?

    I appreciate the need for a drogue to keep everything from tangling after balloon burst, but on sunday it looked like most of the ground track was covered on the way down because the parachute kept it too high for too long. Your typical Soyuz or Dragon spend quite a while falling subsonically before deploying parachutes so they don't drift out of the target area.

    Hmmm, Low Altitude Parachute Delayed Opening Gadget. Every LOHAN should have a LAPDOG.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Delayed parachute

      Afaik this is not allowed. The minimal surface area of the chute is set by the rules governing this sort of endeavour and must deploy automatically when the balloon pops.

      It's definitely something to investigate though! I like the idea!

      1. Vulch
        Pint

        Re: Delayed parachute

        I started looking to see if I could find anything on that last night and my laptop screen died. Looks like I get myself a new one rather than a 3d printer for crimble then...

        Even if the regs do require immediate deployment it could be worth going for the absolute minimum size at first and un-reefing it or popping out a second one lower down. I shall continue my search when I'm not at work and the room at home with the desktop is nice and warm.

  31. TeeCee Gold badge
    WTF?

    ""the underlying data from NOAA...."

    Asking the yanks about the British weather? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    Maybe you should check with the Met Office next time.

    1. John Sager

      Re: ""the underlying data from NOAA...."

      My thought too, but I guess the ballooners have done this stuff before many times. I did notice on the map display a couple of others in the drink that day - one off Southend IIRC and one off Margate. Hope you've got enough in the kitty to refund the kit donors - that Iridium box must be worth a bob or two.

      I hope you've got another intepid Playmonaut in training who hasn't just resigned...

  32. P. Lee Silver badge
    Alien

    Abducted by Aliens?

    I notice that there is a very strange purple scanning beam to be seen on the video(@23s), which was obviously invisible to naked eyes of those there at the time.

    1. Vulch
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Abducted by Aliens?

      Was that not just the laser that ensures the PARIS record remains un-broken being tested in parallel?

  33. Nigel Crockford

    I have one word for you...

    Well, actually an acronym...

    EPIRB

    No self respecting adventurer should set out without one. The inclusion of this simple bit of kit in the Playmonout's backpack and he would be sat at home now quaffing a suitably mulled wine!

    Shame on you!

  34. NoneSuch

    A Suggestion

    Within the day-glo orange truss, a core of styrofoam would add almost nothing to the weight, but would float. The electronics would sink, pulling the truss upright giving you a foot or so of day-glo orange bouy bobbing in the waves and visible for a fair distance.

    Gentlemen, I give you the Playmonaut Memorial Recovery System.

    1. andreas koch

      @ NoneSuch - Re: A Suggestion

      Sir,

      a styrofoam core would have added so much windload as to take the truss all the way to Ushant . . .

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: A Suggestion

      "Gentlemen, I give you the Playmonaut Memorial Recovery System"

      Playmonaut Memorial Tracker, PMT, since SPEARS and LOHAN may not play well on the day.

  35. A J Stiles
    Pint

    Only Fools and Horses

    Seeing the last page of pictures, I can't help being reminded of the 1985 Christmas special episode of "Only Fools and Horses", "To Hull and Back" .....

    Beer, because this effort deserves one.

  36. jimbarter
    Unhappy

    Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

    My condolences with the young wo/mans family.

    RIP.

  37. Dave in the States
    Pint

    RIP Brave Playmonaut....

    I raise a pint in his honor.

    However, to the best of my knowledge you folks live on an ISLAND, which infers that it is surrounded by WATER.

    With all the flash kit you've added to the payload wouldn't a FLOTATION DEVICE made some sense?

    Just asking.

    1. 404 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: RIP Brave Playmonaut....

      Yep, I wondered about that myself - Britain had the best navy in the world for a long time, they understand water and how things happen to sink in that medium... and they didn't give the poor bastard a lifejacket?

      ;)

  38. Dave 126 Silver badge
    Alien

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foo_fighter

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. It wasnt me
      Thumb Up

      Re: The wrong (jacket) stuff

      I really wanted to downvote your comment for being such a killjoy, but I can't cos you're absolutely bloody right.

      My Mrs (HMCG) has recovered one to many bodies from the channel for my liking.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: The wrong (jacket) stuff

      Are you saying "you're gonna need a bigger boat"

      Sharks, oh my sharks - poor little playmonaut

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. St3n

    Coincidence?

    I was in Newbury at around the time the balloon burst and saw something that looked on fire falling out the sky. Could it have been a part of this?

    1. Phil E Succour
      FAIL

      Re: Coincidence?

      >>>I was in Newbury at around the time the balloon burst and saw something that looked on fire falling out the sky. Could it have been a part of this?

      Nope, the balloon was released near Newbury, it travelled a fair distance south east before it burst, and it landed in the sea 70 odd miles away, so if you saw something fall from the sky in Newbury it's just a coincidence...

  41. Aaron Em

    Model M, eh?

    Good man!

  42. SirDigalot

    I am suprised

    the styrene box was not floating there did not look to be that much weight in it it's hard work making that stuff sink... but spotting a little box in the wide open waters, need one of those salt water powered strobes/lights in future like they use on lifejackets at least it may be visible at dawn/dusk

  43. dm1
    Holmes

    Cause identified

    It is scientifically know yellow color brings bad luck. The lot of the playmonaut was doomed since the moment the new outfit was selected.

    This major test flight result should be duly noted and forbade future use of yellow spacesuits any mission.

    1. It wasnt me
      Happy

      Re: Cause identified

      "It is scientifically know yellow color brings bad luck."

      Ahhhhh, so thats why people who wear yellow coats only ever get crappy jobs working in car parks.

      Makes sense now.

  44. Trokair 1
    FAIL

    Splashdown

    Launching a capsule into space from an island without predetermined amphibious support? Tsk tsk.

    1. Andrew Foster

      Re: Splashdown

      This is presumably why so many US flight tests are carried out over New Mexico. It's extremely poor luck if you somehow perish in the drink after launching from the middle of a whopping great desert.

  45. stragen001

    Doomed from the start

    This mission was doomed from the start due to the presence of unsmoked bacon in the pre-flight butties...

    Have you learnt nothing from the extensive research conducted on this very site?

  46. yoinkster

    well that news just ruined my day :(

  47. Alan Esworthy
    Unhappy

    A Haiku of Requiem

    SPB shortcut:

    trusting government data,

    sad playmonaut loss.

  48. Arachnoid

    Much akin to the Liberty Bell 7 Im sure history may discover your craft and bring it back to a warm welcome.Though you might think about following the Star Wars theme with this and cloning the next legonaught just in case

  49. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    You mean you killed a playmobil man in this ill-advised so-called experiment and didn't even have the decency to give him a NAME?

    I notice that all the people bravely keeping both feet on the ground have friendly monikers like "Dave". Only those of limited limb articulation are required to give of their all anonymously.

    For shame El Reg, for shame.

  50. Colin Brett
    Joke

    He's of Irish descent

    "You mean you killed a playmobil man in this ill-advised so-called experiment and didn't even have the decency to give him a NAME?"

    Playm O'naut

    Simples!

    Colin

  51. CmdrX3

    Ode To The Playmonaut

    One bitter morn' he set off for the skies,

    The playmonauts trip planned out by the wise.

    High into the air he rode his balloon,

    praying the planner was not a baffoon.

    Higher and higher he continued to soar,

    The wind rushing by with a deafening roar.

    At just the right time the balloon gave a bang,

    so loud was the noise, our hero's ears rang.

    As he stopped rising up and started to stall,

    The parachute opened and eased up his fall.

    Quickly he realised that things were not right,

    The wind suddenly changed and hastened his plight.

    He dropped Lower and lower as he flew futher South,

    He thought of his planner with his hand over mouth.

    As the coastline approached he knew it was trouble,

    The speed of his plastic heart started to double.

    He looked to the East and in the distance saw Brighton,

    But he knew as he passed he couldn't stop fightin'.

    He went further and further out over the Channel,

    Wishing he packed up some soap and a flannel.

    There was nothing he could do now but sit there and wait,

    And as the water got closer he pondered his fate.

    After what seemed like an age he finally splashed down,

    And as he floated along he prayed not to drown.

    Meanwhile back on the coast of old Blighty,

    The panic to save him was rushed and quite mighty.

    In the search for a boat Playmonauts team ran to and fro,

    When finally they found the good ship Even-Flow.

    They sped to the spot they last logged his flight,

    Hoping their hero would be quite alright.

    On the sides of the boat they were staunchly perched,

    Long into the evening they searched and they searched.

    No sign of their friend could any man find,

    This would be a day when the gods were not kind.

    Sadly they left and returned to the dock,

    The pub was awaiting and to there they would flock.

    They all raised their glasses to their friend lost at sea,

    And then they all toasted his replacement to be.

    Back in the dark as our hero looked on,

    He watched the boat search and then it was gone.

    He knew on this night he was now on his own,

    So decided to fight on instead of just moan.

    He paddled so hard his arms started to ache,

    But more and more progress he started to make.

    As the dawn sun came up he gave a quick glance,

    In the distance was land and he knew it was France.

    with safety in sight he knew he had to give more,

    So with new vigour he swam ever harder to shore.

    With one more big push the dry land was in reach,

    so exhausted he pulled himself onto the beach.

    As he lay on his back and looked up at the sun,

    he sighed and he smiled as he knew he had won.

    And so ends our story of a hero so bright,

    Who proves it pays never to give up the fight.

  52. LB45
    Holmes

    Silenced?

    Sounds like a Mafia job to me.

    After all, the Playmonaut sleeps with the fishes now.

    1. Nya

      Re: Silenced?

      Not Mafia, it's those dodgy Danes. There is some kind of Lego/Bacon faction against the SPB's brave Playmonaut.

      While watching this weekend with baited breath for a happy ending, it is sad he hasn't been found...yet!

      But I still hold on to the chance we'll find him living it up on a lost Tracy Island discarded many years ago into the Channel surrounded by hoards of Amazonian Playwomanuats and many a tale to tell.

  53. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Pint

    Alas for Playmonaut....

    But he'll be immortalized with his pic on the wall at Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club.

    The blonde Playmogroupies will be devastated!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOHAN's MUFF

    Clearly what's needed next time is some added MUFF - Moulded Urethane Foam Floats - to help keep LOHAN on the surface in the event of a future splashdown.

  55. Colin Miller

    > This operation is perfectly safe, although for some reason Dave decided that it would be better to photograph the action while walking backwards from the potential blast zone:

    And then Dave narrowly avoids tripping over the gas cylinder lying behind him, but stands on one of the gauges, snapping it off, and gives himself nasty frost-bite on the ankle in the ensuing rapid depressurisation.

    (Be thankful there's no naked flames around).

  56. pwibble
    Alert

    Next Launch Site

    Next launch site....obviously Meriden in the Midlands. traditionally known as the center of England therefore very far from the sea.

    Of course, LOHAN might get tangled up in a Boeing flying into BHX....

    Anyway - what a shame! You lot must be gutted. But also time to cue "Gentlemen, we can rebuild, erm, her".

    1. Phil E Succour
      Stop

      Re: Next Launch Site

      >>>Next launch site....obviously Meriden in the Midlands. traditionally known as the center of England therefore very far from the sea.

      Well, no actually, that doesn't really help. On the UK mainland the furthest you can be from a coastline is about 70 miles and the LOHAN balloon went further than that, so you could still be in trouble, it all depends on where the wind takes it. If the wind had been from the south LOHAN could have gone over 200 miles due north before crossing the coast somewhere near Hartlepool. As it was the predicted path showed the flight returning to the ground well short of the south coast, so launching from that site wasn't a rash decision, but there's always a risk the wind forecasts are wrong.

  57. Roby
    Thumb Up

    This has brought genuine tears to my eyes. I won't forget this brave sacrifice.

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