Father and son cling to rocks in dramatic rescue

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Tynemouth, rescued a father and son who were clinging to rocks after they got into difficulty whilst swimming.

Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team

Marsden Rock

A family of three found themselves in difficulty after getting caught in a rip current whilst swimming off Marsden beach in South Tyneside at the weekend. The father went into the water to help his 11-year-old son but both were caught by the current. Eventually, they managed to scramble up the side of Marsden rock.

The mother was washed all the way around Marsden rock by the strong current, and managed to get out of the water.

Fortunately, members of the public at the nearby Marsden Grotto pub saw the family in difficulty and called 999 and asked for the coastguard. The UK Coastguard tasked Tynemouth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, and teams from South Shields Volunteer Life Bridgade and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were sent to assist on shore.

When the lifeboat arrived, the father and son were found clinging on to the rocks by their fingertips. The lifeboat crew manoeuvred as close as possible, and had to get the father and son to jump down into the sea and grab a lifeline, before pulling them into the lifeboat.

The casualties were then taken to shore and passed into the care of paramedics.

Mark Taylor, volunteer crew at Tynemouth RNLI, was involved in the rescue. He said, ‘When we arrived, the father and son were in quite a precarious situation, clinging to the rock by their fingertips. We had to carry out a manoeuvre where we had to use the anchor in order to get near to the stranded pair. Our extensive crew training prepared us to carry out this rescue in some difficult conditions.

‘Situations like this demonstrate how unpredictable the sea can be. It was really fortunate that the members of the public called 999 and asked for the coastguard after seeing this family in difficulty.’

Nick Ayers, RNLI Community Safety Partner at the lifesaving charity said, ‘It’s been a busy summer already for both our volunteer lifeboat crews and our lifeguards who are keeping people safe around the coast. With schools finishing for summer, we’re encouraging anyone heading to the beach to visit a lifeguarded one and to swim between the red and yellow flags.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Jennifer Clough, RNLI Press Officer, on 01202 336789, or pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

Stock image of Tynemouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat

RNLI/Adrian Don

Stock image of Tynemouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat

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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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