Cullercoats and Blyth RNLI in joint search after an inflatable is spotted at sea
Cullercoats Lifeboat crew were paged at 12:03pm today, (Wednesday 22nd May), to reports of an inflatable drifting 150m off Whitley Bay beach.
A concerned member of the public called 999 and asked for the Coastguard when they noticed a small inflatable drifting out to sea near Whitley Bay mine buoy. The lifeboat crew from Cullercoats quickly launched and proceeded to the location. Working with the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, (TVLB), who were with the first informant on the shore, the lifeboat searched the area and located a small inflatable board with a backpack strapped to it. Being low in the water, it had been difficult to spot.
The first informant had seen a gentleman near the water carrying the inflatable less than an hour before, so the Cullercoats crew began a search of the area to locate the missing occupant. With a potential person in the water, Blyth RNLI Lifeboat was tasked to assist at 12:35pm. Once launched, Blyth Lifeboat crew began a search to the North of Cullercoats' search area.
After over an hour of searching, a gentleman on the shore made contact with the TVLB as he believed the inflatable belonged to him; his had gone missing from the beach. He matched the description the first informant gave. Cullercoats crew brought the inflatable ashore so the gentleman could confirm it was his, which he did. He also thanked the crew for their concern and apologised for causing a 'shout.'
Once Humber Coastguard were satisfied that everyone was safe, both crews and the TVLB returned to their stations and were made ready for service once again.
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.