DOZENS of rescuers were called out in a major search after reports a person had gone into the North Sea near the mouth of the Tyne.
RNLI lifeboats from Tynemouth, Volunteer Life Brigades from Tynemouth and South Shields, Northumbria Police, an RAF rescue helicopter and a Port of Tyne pilot vessel were all called out after reports a full-clothed person had entered the Tyne from South Shields pier.
The watchkeeper at South Shields pier had seen the incident, at 3.45pm on Friday, May 18, but had lost sight of the person who had started to swim out into the harbour.
The lifeboats carried out a methodical search of the lower Tyne harbour, assisted by the RAF helicopter, while the Tynemouth and South Shields volunteer life brigades posted teams at both pier heads in case any casualty was carried out of the harbour.
After a meticulous and exhaustive search, nothing was found and all search stood teams down at 7pm after they were satisfied nothing more could be done.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: “Both our inshore and all-weather lifeboats with a total of 11 volunteer crewmembers were launched to search for a possible missing person, but after three hours searching none of the search teams found any trace of a casualty.
“It’s possible that the person who was seen to enter the water could have come back out soon after.
“The search was a comprehensive as possible and unfortunately nothing more could have been done to increase the search effort and all of the teams involved were stood down although the life brigades later made a search of the river banks at low tide, again finding nothing.”