RESCUE teams searching for a man seen walking into the sea at South Shields last night found a body this morning.
A huge search was mounted around the Marsden Grotto area last night after a man was seen walking into the sea and disappearing from view.
Coastguard officers received an alarm call from a fisherman at 10.52pm about the incident.
Crews from Tynemouth RNLI, South Shields and Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigades, Sunderland Coastguard, police, and RAF helicopters searched the area between Frenchman’s Bay and Lizard Point.
Despite an extensive search which lasted almost three hours, no one was found.
At about 5.35am today, officers searching the beach area discovered the body of a man at the Velvet Beds steps, some 600m away from the spot where the man was initially seen to enter the water.
Formal identification is still to take place and inquiries will be carried out to trace a next of kin.
However, officers believe this is the same man seen to enter the water.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: “Both of our lifeboats were paged to launch just before 11pm last night after a man was seen by an angler to walk into the sea at Marsden.
“Our lifeboats with a total of 12 volunteer crew members carried out a structured search of the sea in the area where he was seen, supported by the RAF and Police helicopters and the shore-based rescue teams, all coordinated by the watch officers at Humber Coastguard.
“After nearly three hours of searching every possible avenue had been exhausted and the search was called off, with the intention of possibly restarting in daylight.
“Unfortunately a body was found on the beach and police believe that this is the same person who we were searching for.
“Our thoughts and sympathies lie with his friends and family at what will be a very difficult time for them.”
A report will be compiled for the coroner in due course.