A man surfing in rough sea conditions sparked a rescue mission involving both Tynemouth RNLI lifeboats this afternoon.
A concerned member of the public called Humber Coastguard at 3.10pm today after seeing a surfer possibly in difficulty off the notorious Black Midden rocks at Tynemouth.
Tynemouth RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats, with a total of 10 volunteer crew members, were scrambled to the scene just a short distance from the lifeboat station. Members of the shore-based Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (TVLB) were also tasked to assist.
As the lifeboats arrived on scene they started to search for the person and after a few minutes a surfer with his board was seen to be making his way out of the water onto the rocks. The lifeboat crews kept searching in case anyone else was in the water.
As the man came closer to the sea wall he confirmed to the TVLB that no-one else was in the water. The lifeboats were then stood down.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat, said: 'The passer-by that contacted the Coastguard was absolutely right to do so. Conditions at the Black Middens were dangerous, with strong winds and heavy seas breaking over the rocks. Thankfully the surfer returned to shore unharmed but this could easily have become a tragedy.
'We would never recommend anyone going into the sea here in these conditions, no matter how confident they are of their own abilities'.