An injured angler was rescued on Christmas Eve in a joint operation involving RNLI lifeboats, Paramedics, Coastguards and a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter after he broke his ankle falling on rocks.
The alarm was raised at 9.25am when the man fell at the bottom of cliffs at Frenchman’s Bay, South Shields.
Humber Coastguard scrambled both Tynemouth RNLI all weather and inshore lifeboats, A Coastguard Rescue Helicopter and a shore-based Coastguard Rescue Team to support Paramedics already en route to the incident.
As the lifeboats approached Frenchman’s Bay, the inshore lifeboat took a stretcher ashore while the all weather lifeboat stood by a short distance out to sea.
The inshore lifeboat crew went ashore to find the casualty being treated for his injuries by a paramedic from the NHS Hazardous Area Response Team who had been lowered down the cliff by the Coastguards using their cliff rescue apparatus.
It was decided that the best approach to getting the man, who was in considerable pain, to hospital would be to take him on the stretcher from the beach in the inshore lifeboat, transfer him to the all weather lifeboat then winch him from the lifeboat deck to the helicopter which was due to arrive imminently.
The operation to get the man onto the all weather lifeboat took just a few minutes and the paramedic travelled with the lifeboats. Once on the all weather lifeboat he was given painkilling gas.
The Coastguard helicopter lowered their winchman, also a paramedic, down to the all weather lifeboat and he prepared the casualty for airlifting before a basket was winched down to the lifeboat. The man was transferred into the basket and winched up to the helicopter which flew him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
All other search and rescue teams were then stood down and the lifeboats returned to station, taking the paramedic to shore where he was reunited with his team.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: “The casualty had been fishing on rocks when he fell, badly breaking his ankle. Initially it was feared that his friend had fallen into the sea as he was missing but it turned out that he had gone for help and was safe.
“It would have been very difficult to evacuate the man by land so the best thing for him was to get him off the shore by lifeboat before transferring him to the helicopter.
“The rescue operation was complicated but our volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew members worked with the paramedics and helicopter crew to effect a prompt and safe rescue.
He added: “We wish the casualty a speedy recovery and hope his Christmas isn’t too spoilt.
“As usual, our volunteer crews will remain on standby 24/7 throughout the festive season, ready to respond to anyone in difficulty at sea.”