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Lifeboat crews called to a report of two people in trouble in the English Channel found a man swimming happily with a playful seal.
Dover Coastguard was alerted after a woman believed she could see one person struggling in the sea and one shouting for help off Cooden beach in Bexhill, East Sussex.
The alert prompted a response from Eastbourne and Hastings inshore RNLI lifeboats at around 8.30am this morning - only for them to find it was a false alarm.
A RNLI spokesman said: "When the volunteer crews arrived on scene it was discovered that the early morning swimmer had found he was swimming with a playful seal and was so thrilled with the experience that he couldn't help but yell out with sheer joy.
"Both lifeboats returned to station, with the incident being logged as a false alarm with good intent.''