Dramatic Rescue Of Father And Son

Lifeboats News Release

A father and son were rescued by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers on Sunday after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea.

Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat at Marsden Rock

Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team

Marsden Rock Rescue
The alarm was raised at 8.50pm on Sunday evening by members of the public at the Marsden Grotto pub after a couple and their 11 year-old son were carried away by a rip current while they were swimming at Marsden beach, South Tyneside.

The mother was washed all the way round Marsden rock by the strong current and managed to scramble from the water. The father went into the water to help his son but was also caught by the current.

UK Coastguard's Humber Operations Centre immediately tasked Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat and teams from South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were sent to assist on shore.

Eventually the father and son managed to scramble up the side of Marsden rock and were clinging onto a ledge by their fingertips when Tynemouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew members arrived a few minutes later.

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and realised that getting in close enough to effect a rescue was going to prove difficult as although the tide was low, a 1.5m swell meant large waves were breaking over the cliff side and the lifeboat.

The crew carried out a maneuver known as 'veering in', using the anchor to ensure they'd be able to get near enough to the stranded pair.

Once the lifeboat was as close as possible the crew had to get the father and son to jump down into the sea and grab a lifeline they had thrown into the water. Once they were both pulled from the water into the lifeboat the sea was too rough to safely recover the anchor which had to be cut free, allowing the lifeboat to get away from the shore.

The casualties were rushed to South Shields ferry landing where the lifeboat crew gave casualty care to the boy who was showing signs of cold water shock and hypothermia, before they were handed into the care of paramedics.

Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said 'The family had apparently gone swimming at Marsden but were caught in a strong rip current. The man and boy somehow managed to get up the cliff and were in a very precarious and potentially life-threatening situation when the lifeboat arrived.

'Our volunteer crew members used their extensive training experience and not a little bravery to carry out a rescue in a dangerous sea and thankfully the casualties were brought ashore soon after.

'Situations like this underline how important the RNLI's ongoing 'Respect the Water' campaign is, and demonstrates the unpredictable nature of the sea and just how dangerous it can be.

'The RNLI recommends anyone swimming in the sea should do so at a lifeguarded beach'.

Mr Don added: 'It's no exaggeration to say that this was very close to becoming a drowning incident'.

Comprehensive advice about staying safe in or around water can be found at www.respectthewater.com.


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 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.

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