Lifeboat volunteers from Tynemouth and Sunderland RNLI lifeboat stations were called into action on Sunday afternoon (26 June) as part of a rescue operation to save a 7m fishing boat and its eight occupants after it started sinking.
A major search operation was started just after 3:45pm this afternoon after the crew onboard the angling boat issued a ‘Mayday’ distress message stating that their boat was holed and taking on water fast. This information was received by Humber Coastguard who then coordinated the search operation. The vessel was located a mile off Seaburn, Sunderland.
Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat was returning to the Tyne after a training exercise with a Coastguard rescue helicopter when the volunteer crew overheard the distress radio call and were heading back out to sea when they were tasked to assist the stricken anglers, along with Sunderland RNLI lifeboat. The rescue helicopter also returned to the area. A rescue water craft was also dispatched from Roker RNLI beach lifeguard unit and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked to assist from shore. A number of other angling boats and a sail training vessel vessel that had been nearby kept watch over the anglers until the lifeboats arrived.
After getting to the scene as fast as possible the Tynemouth lifeboat crew found the anglers desperately trying to bale the water out from their boat and immediately evacuated them onto the lifeboat as the Sunderland lifeboat arrived. Crew members from both lifeboats went onboard the boat to set up water pumps in an attempt to stabilise the water ingress. After about 30 minutes it was decided that the boat was stable enough to be towed back to Sunderland by Tynemouth lifeboat while the volunteers continued pumping water out of the boat.
On arrival at Sunderland harbour it was agreed with the Harbour Master to beach the boat on North Sands near The Glass Centre. The anglers were transferred to safety on dry land from the Tynemouth lifeboat by Sunderland RNLI's inshore lifeboat that had now also joined the rescue effort.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station said: ‘This was an excellent team effort from everyone involved. There is no doubt that without the intervention of our volunteer crews the anglers would have been in serious danger of going into the sea as their boat would have sunk in a short time and unfortunately they only had three lifejackets between the eight people.
'We are all grateful for the support given by the local boating community who responded to the initial distress message to offer their support until our crews arrived.
'The RNLI aims to half drownings in the UK by 2024 and is promoting water safety through the Respect The Water campaign. Comprehensive water safety advice can be found at rnli.org/respectthewater.'
For more information: Please contact Adrian Don, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07834 731833
Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1862 although there have been lifeboats on the river Tyne since the world's first purpose built lifeboat was launched here in 1790. The station has 30 volunteer crew members who come from all walks of life. We operate two lifeboats: The Severn class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland and our D class inshore lifeboat Mark Noble. We have a website at www.tynemouth-lifeboat.org, and you can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TynemouthRNLI or follow us on Twitter @TynemouthRNLI.
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.