A MAN was pulled from the river Tyne by a lifeboat crew from Tynemouth in the early hours of Sunday morning after he swam across the river.
The alarm was raised at 30 minutes past midnight when a man was seen to enter the river and start swimming from South Shields ferry landing.
Police requested assistance from Humber Coastguard who immediately requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat.
Launching a few minutes later the lifeboat sped upriver with three volunteer crew members on board who started searching for the man. The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were also tasked to assist in the search from shore.
As police officers on the north bank of the Tyne shone torches onto where they thought the man was, the lifeboat crew found him clinging to a ladder near to the North Shields ferry landing. He was brought onto the boat and rushed to the lifeboat station where he was wrapped in blankets. Paramedics arrived soon after and checked the man over, and after finding he was cold but didn't require any treatment, he was taken into custody by police officers.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said 'The man was aged around 30 and had actually managed to swim across the river along the approximate route of the Shields ferry.
'He was incredibly lucky to make it as there was little tide running in the river but had the current been faster it could have easily carried even the strongest swimmer away.
'We're just pleased that the man is safe and well but this could have become a tragedy'.
The RNLI aims to half coastal drownings by 2024 and information about staying safe in and around water 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 RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.