Three call-outs in six hours for Tynemouth volunteer life-savers

Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade

The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (TVLB) was called out three times within the space of six hours yesterday.

Two of the calls were for sightings of possible distress flares, although one of those turned out to be fireworks.

The first request from UK Coastguard came at 5.21pm, when both TVLB and Tynemouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat were required to search the Fish Quay Sands area, near to the Mouth of the River Tyne, north to Cullercoats Bay, to assist Northumbria Police, who had received a report of a male threatening to self-harm.

Four Brigade search teams were deployed to search the river bank and coastline with the Lifeboat carrying out a search from the water. After 50 minutes, with nothing untoward located, Northumbria Police informed UK Coastguard that they were standing down their search assets and in turn the Brigade and Lifeboat were also stood down and returned to their respective stations.

Just before 9pm, the TVLB was called out for the second time after a number of 999 calls were made reporting red distress flares in the Whitley Bay area. After speaking with a number of fishermen it was confirmed that a number of flares had been set off from the shore by a group of teenagers.

A Brigade spokesman said: "One of the flares had misfired and gone straight into the ground, which could have had disastrous consequences for those firing the flare and they can consider themselves very fortunate to have avoided serious injury."

With UK Coastguard satisfied the flares had been fired from the shore and with no sign of any vessels in difficulty, the Brigade was stood down just before 10pm.

The final call-out came at 10.39pm after the Coastguard had again received reports of possible red flares being fired near Whitley Bay. Cullercoats RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was also launched and, after a thorough search of the area, no vessels in difficulty were located. The Brigade did speak to a group of eight members of the public who had been firing rockets and fireworks from Whitley Bay beach and are believed to have been the source of this incident.

This brings the total number of TVLB call-outs in 2017 to 98.