Three kayakers were rescued just minutes before being swept out to sea.
A Mayday radio distress call was made by one of the kayakers whose craft had capsized just outside Tynemouth pier, with the three fighting to stop being swept out to sea in stormy waters.
RNLI lifeboats from Cullercoats and Tynemouth were quickly on scene, joined by the Port of Tyne pilot vessel Collingwood while Tynemouth Volunteer Life Bridge (TVLB) kept a watching brief from the shore.
The drama – which unfolded at 2pm on Sunday, January 18 – saw Cullercoats lifeboat arrive on scene first with the crew pulling the three into the lifeboat before retrieving the kayaks.
There had been seven kayakers in the party, with crew from Tynemouth RNLI’s inshore and all-weather lifeboats searching the area to ensure the others were accounted for and safe.
The three casualties and their kayaks were then transferred onto the Tynemouth all weather lifeboat and returned to safety at Tynemouth’s Priors Haven.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: “One of the kayakers made a Mayday distress call using a marine VHF radio so they were well-equipped but it seems they had been caught out by the rough seas near Tynemouth pier.
“Our volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews from Cullercoats and Tynemouth worked together in what was a textbook operation, co-ordinated throughout by Humber Coastguard, to ensure a successful outcome to what could have been a tragedy.
“This service marked a historic milestone, as it was the 2000th time Tynemouth lifeboat station’s lifeboats have been launched on service since the station was established by the RNLI in 1862.”