Tynemouth and Cullercoats RNLI lifeboats join major search.
Lifeboats News Release
Tynemouth and Cullercoats RNLI lifeboats have taken part in a major air, land and sea search for possible person in the sea on Saturday morning (November 10th, 2018).
At around 6.30am a member of the public called police to report seeing a person dressed in black climb over railings at King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth, and enter the sea.
UK Coastguard's Humber Operations Centre were asked for assistance by Northumbria Police and immediately requested the launch of both Tynemouth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats to search the sea for the person, and tasked the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and Blyth Coastguard Rescue Team to search the shore in the area. A Police Helicopter also joined the search assisting police officers on the scene.
A structured search pattern was established by the RNLI lifeboats that took into account the path anyone in the water would likely be carried by the tide and wind. Visibility was very good but a 2m swell was running making conditions challenging for the volunteer crew of Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat who were searching close to the beach.
A Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Humberside Airport was also tasked to join the search.
As the search progressed, the rescue helicopter arrived on scene just before 8am and carried out a sweep of the search area using its forward-looking infra-red camera.
No trace of anyone in the sea was found other than some surfers off Tynemouth Longsands and at 8.20am UK Coastguard decided to extend the search area north to Whitley Bay and further out to sea. They also requested the launch of Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat to search from Cullercoats to Whitley Sands. The rescue helicopter was also tasked to search this area. and both Tynemouth RNLI lifeboats were also given new search patterns to cover a larger area of sea.
At 9am the rescue helicopter was running short of fuel and flew to Newcastle Airport to refuel. As its crew had done all they could to contribute to the search it was stood down and returned to Humberside Airport.
At 9.45am the three volunteer crew of Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat had completed their search and owing to the swell were unable to go closer into shore so were stood down by the Coastguard and returned to station, followed by Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat at 10.11.
At 10.45am UK Coastguard were satisfied that all avenues to locate anyone who might have been in the sea had been exhausted and terminated the search, standing tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat down.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat, said: 'Our volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew members joined the multi-agency search that was coordinated by UK Coastguard's Humber Operations Centre. After a comprehensive search of the sea and shore that lasted for four hours the Coastguard were happy that the possibility of detecting anyone who might have been in difficulty in the sea had been very high.
'From the description of the person seen entering the water It's very likely that they were a surfer or early morning swimmer wearing a wetsuit.
'If there had been anyone in difficulty, it's reassuring for members of the public to know that so many dedicated professional rescue personnel, including many volunteers, are available to help.'
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Adrian Don, Tynemouth RNLI 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. You can find us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/TynemouthRNLI or follow us on Twitter
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 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.