A MAN was pulled unconscious from the sea at South Shields this afternoon in a Bank Holiday Monday drama.
The alarm was raised at 4.25pm after members of the public reported that a man had entered the sea from the beach near Marsden Grotto, and that he seemed to be in a state of distress.
Humber Coastguard requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat and also scrambled an RAF Sea King rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer.
Land-based Coastguard rescue teams were also dispatched to assist on shore.
The helicopter found the man floating unconscious, approximately 100 yards from the beach.
The lifeboat crew hauled him onto the lifeboat, where one of the volunteers - an accident and emergency doctor in his day job - started to resuscitate him.
A winchman was then lowered onto the lifeboat from the helicopter, and the man was taken aborad and flown to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Tynemouth RNLI spokesman Adrian Don said: “The search and rescue operation for the casualty was coordinated throughout by Humber Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and involved the RNLI volunteer crew working with the RAF rescue helicopter crew to effect as fast a rescue as possible, to give the casualty the best chance of survival.”
“All RNLI volunteer crew members are trained to a high standard of casualty care, but on this occasion one of our crewmen is also a trauma doctor, and he started resuscitation on the casualty before passing him into the care of the RAF winchman, who is a trained paramedic.
“The man was then taken to hospital, arriving just a few minutes after being pulled from the sea.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman confirmed that the man suffered life-threatening injuries, but there is no update on his condition at the present time.