A man was pulled from the River Tyne by a lifeboat crew from Tynemouth in the early hours today (Sunday) after he had swam across the river.
The alarm was raised at 30 minutes past midnight when a man was seen entering the river and starting to swim from the South Shields ferry landing.
Police requested assistance from Humber Coastguard who immediately requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat.
Launching a few minutes later, the lifeboat sped upriver with three volunteer crew members on board and started searching for the man. The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were also tasked to assist in the search from shore.
As police officers on the north bank of the Tyne shined torches onto where they thought he was, the lifeboat crew found him clinging to a ladder near to the North Shields ferry landing. He was brought onto the boat and rushed to the lifeboat station where he was wrapped in blankets. Paramedics arrived soon after and checked the man over and, after finding he was cold but didn't require any treatment, he was taken into custody by police officers.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said: "The man was aged around 30 and had actually managed to swim across the river along the approximate route of the Shields ferry.
"He was incredibly lucky to make it as there was little tide running in the river, but had the current been faster it could have easily carried even the strongest swimmer away. We're just pleased that the man is safe and well otherwise this could have become a tragedy."
The RNLI aims to half coastal drownings by 2024 and information about staying safe in and around water can be found at rnli.org/respectthewater