Injured fisherman sparks 72-mile round trip for lifeboat crew

An injured fisherman is evacuated from the French fishing vessel Sandette by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers. Picture by RNLI/Michael Brown

An injured fisherman is evacuated from the French fishing vessel Sandette by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers. Picture by RNLI/Michael Brown

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An injured fisherman injured nearly 40 miles out to sea sparked a rescue for lifeboat crews.

A crewman on the 86m French factory trawler Sandette suffered a suspected broken ankle just before 11am on Sunday.

Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat set off on the 36 mile dash to the Sandette, which was also steaming closer to shore from her position east of the Northumberland coast.

Arriving at the vessel just over an hour after launching, the lifeboat crew found that the 43-year-old fisherman was ‘walking wounded’ and was able to board the lifeboat by ladder, assisted by the volunteer crew members.

Once he was safely on board, the lifeboat headed back to the lifeboat station, where Fishermen’s Mission Superintendent Peter Dade met the casualty and took him to the Emergency Care Centre at North Tyneside General Hospital, along with translator Gill Rutter, where he was diagnosed with two fractures in his right foot.

His leg was put in a temporary support boot and he was then put up in a Whitley Bay hotel for the night, thanks to the Mission and the shipping agent acting for his vessel.

On Monday morning he attended the fracture clinic at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington, where his foot was put in a cast.

The fisherman’s company arranged for the casualty to fly home from Newcastle airport later on Monday afternoon.

Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: “The fisherman wasn’t in any immediate danger so our all weather lifeboat was sent to evacuate him from the vessel, rather than a rescue helicopter being tasked.

“Weather conditions offshore were challenging but our Coxswain and volunteer crew used their experience to safely get the fisherman on board the lifeboat.

“Once he was back on dry land the Fisherman’s Mission, also a charity, stepped in to do what they do best which is helping fishermen in distress.

“North Shields Mission Superintendent Peter Dade, assisted by translator Gill Rutter, arranged to get him to hospital, avoiding a lengthy wait for an ambulance, then liaised with his company to make sure he had somewhere to stay for the night and then return to hospital the following day for treatment, and then get him to the airport for his flight home.

“This was a great example of the RNLI, HM Coastguard and the Fishermen’s Mission all working together to ensure the well-being of the casualty.”