Hat-trick of call-outs as rescue crews notch up a busy weekend

The sponsored stretcher carry.
The sponsored stretcher carry.

It's been a busy weekend for rescue crews, with a hat-trick of coastal call-outs.

Members of Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade have rescued an 18-year-old man injured on rocks and investigated two reports of people in the water needing help, both of which are believed to have been false alarms with good intent.

The sponsored stretcher carry, which was interrupted by a call-out.

The sponsored stretcher carry, which was interrupted by a call-out.

On Saturday, as part of the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) Drowning Prevention Week, which runs until June 26, Brigade members took part in a sponsored stretcher carry, in full water rescue equipment, from Cullercoats Bay to their Watch House in Tynemouth.

During the event, the Coastguard tasked the Brigade to investigate a report of an inflatable canoe which was believed to have capsized with one person in the water, clinging to it.

The location of the incident was given as Walker on the River Tyne, near a number of industrial properties

Brigade members and the local senior coastal operations officer searched the river. Working with the security offices of the many riverside industries, they confirmed that no one appeared to be in need of help, and nor was there any evidence to suggest anyone had needed help.

With lots of vessels using the river, and with no further reports of anyone in trouble or lost/missing, UK Coastguard stood the Brigade down about an hour later

Brigade members then returned to the stretcher carry, which by this time had just about reached the Watch House. The event was organised in conjunction with the North Sea Volunteer Lifeguards (NSVL) and helped raised just under £1,000, which will be split between the Brigade, NSVL and RLSS.

Throughout the week, the Brigade will continue drowning prevention work with assemblies and school safety talks planned in schools in North Tyneside.

Brigade members were in action again at 6.55 am today, after the UK Coastguard received a report of an 18 year-old man with an ankle injury near Browns Bay.

An initial search of the bay showed no sign of the casualty. At this point, Blyth Coastguard Rescue Team and Cullercoats RNLI inshore lifeboat were paged to provide additional resources.

A short while later, a Brigade search team found the man on rocks the east of Marconi Point. He had suffered a suspected sprained ankle, which was immobilised with a Brigade vacuum split.

Lifeboatmen from Cullercoats RNLI then waded ashore from their boat and helped stabilise the man with oxygen. He was then put into a basket stretcher which Brigade members and lifeboat crew carried across the rocks to a point where the lifeboat was able to come alongside and perform a very straightforward casualty transfer.

The lifeboat then transported the injured man back to Cullercoats Ba,y where he was transferred into the care of the ambulance service.

Just after 10.30 this morning, the Brigade was called to help the RNLI beach lifeguard and Cullercoats RNLI inshore lifeboat in investigating a report of up to three swimmers in difficulty near Whitley Bay.

A quick search of the area revealed a number of swimmers in the water but all confirmed they didn't need help.

With no further reports of anyone in difficulty, and aftera thorough search of the area, UK Coastguard stood down all crews at 10.45am and the call was put down as a false alarm with good intent.

So far this year, Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, a voluntary shore based coastal rescue service formed in 1864, has responded to 56 call-outs.