VANDALS targeted the cars of rescuers battling to save the life of a teenager knocked unconscious after falling off a cliff.
The 17-year-old is now recovering in hospital after being found not breathing on rocks near the Spanish Battery in Tynemouth.
Two cars belonging to those involved in the rescue were damaged during the four-hour fight to save the teenager’s life.
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade captain Peter Lilley, pictured, said: “The brigade is extremely disappointed at the action of these mindless idiots in damaging two cars belonging to our volunteers.
“Annoyed doesn’t even come close to describing our feelings. It’s unbelievable.
“Whoever did it could have seen what was going on and what we were doing.”
The rescue operation was launched in the early hours of Wednesday after coastguards received a report that a man was threatening to commit suicide.
Paramedics, police officers and members of the volunteer life brigade were called out just after 1.30am.
As they searched the shore, they saw two youths – believed to have been involved in the initial call – running along King Edward’s Bay towards the rocks underneath Tynemouth Priory.
The pair were asked to stop by police, but one ignored the calls and continued running onto the rocks, prompting the brigade to call in support from the Cullercoats RNLI inshore lifeboat and a police helicopter.
Mr Lilley said: “Due to the high tide, it was deemed too dangerous to pursue the casualty onto the rocks, so brigade members and police officers positioned themselves at King Edward’s Bay and the North Tyne Pier in case the man decided to return to safety.
“As the lifeboat arrived, so did the police helicopter, and both rescue units carrying out a thorough search of the rocks, with the helicopter spotting the casualty lying face down on a rock in a highly inaccessible position.
“Two lifeboatmen swam ashore and found the casualty was unconscious and not breathing.
“They were able to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and he started breathing unaided but remained unconscious.
“We don’t know how he became unconscious. We just know that he didn’t fall a long distance.”
Two brigade members then climbed down the cliff with first-aid equipment, plus a spinal board and basket stretcher, while a rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer was deployed.
The casualty was airlifted to the Richardson Road helicopter landing site and transferred to an ambulance waiting to rush him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary in a critical condition.
The teenager was said to be in a stable but poorly condition later yesterday.
The two rescuers’ cars targeted by yobs had been parked near Tynemouth Longsands.