Driver cheats death as his car goes down steps at South Shields cliffs

A teenage driver has cheated death after a dramatic car plunge over cliffs in South Tyneside.

His vehicle is thought to have careered through safety barriers and tumbled onto pedestrian steps leading from the Coast Road to Marsden Beach, South Shields.

A damaged car lies halfway down the steps to Marsden beach, South Shields. Pic: Robin Hunter.

A damaged car lies halfway down the steps to Marsden beach, South Shields. Pic: Robin Hunter.

Incredibly, it jammed half way down the deep gully – saving him from a potentially deadly plunge onto the beach around 50m below.

Firefighters cut the 19-year-old free from the wreckage in an operation which lasted around 45 minutes, from 6.40am on Sunday.

He was rushed to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary with non-life-threatening injuries - and remains under observation.

Police believe his red motor plunged over one side of cliffs and onto the steep concrete steps, which lie at the bottom of Redwell Bank.

Police cordoned off the steps to Marsden beach, South Shields, after a car was found halfway down. Pic: Robin Hunter.

Police cordoned off the steps to Marsden beach, South Shields, after a car was found halfway down. Pic: Robin Hunter.

But they could not say if they were treating the incident as a criminal act or an accident.

They appealed for information from the public to help them with their inquiries.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Police received a report of a one-vehicle collision just off the Coast Road, South Shields.

“Officers attended and found a car that had broken through a barrier and driven down the embankment near Redwell Lane.

“Emergency services safely removed a 19-year-old male from the vehicle and he was taken to the RVI for treatment.

“His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

“Anyone with any information, or who witnessed the incident, is asked to contact police.”

Two fire engines were sent from stations in Hebburn and South Shields, and teams used specialist cutting equipment to free the man.

The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said the rescue operation has lasted until around 7.25am.

A spokeswoman added: “One engine from Hebburn and one from South Shields were sent.

“We arrived at 6.39am and left the scene at 7.26am. We used cutting equipment to get into the car and get him out.”

Anyone with any information, or who witnessed the incident, is asked to contact police at 101 quoting reference 0238 13/05/18.