"Very close" to drowning - Father and son rescued as they clung to Marsden rocks by their fingertips
A father and son left clinging to Marsden Rock by their fingertips came close to drowning in a swimming tragedy before being rescued.
At around 8.50pm, on Sunday July 14, drinkers in the Marsden Grotto pub raised the alarm when they saw a couple and their 11 year-old son being carried away by a rip current, while they were swimming at Marsden beach.
The mother was washed all the way round Marsden rock by the strong current and managed to scramble from the water.
The father went into the water to help his son but was also caught by the current.
Eventually the father and son managed to scramble up the side of Marsden Rock and were clinging onto a ledge by their fingertips when Tynemouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew members arrived a few minutes later.
An RNLI official said it was “very close” to being a drowning incident.
Despite the tide being low, a 1.5 metre swell meant large waves were breaking over the cliff side and the lifeboat.
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The casualties were taken to South Shields ferry landing where the lifeboat crew gave casualty care to the boy who was showing signs of cold water shock and hypothermia, before they were handed into the care of paramedics.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station, said “The family had apparently gone swimming at Marsden but were caught in a strong rip current.
“The man and boy somehow managed to get up the cliff and were in a very precarious and potentially life-threatening situation when the lifeboat arrived.
“Our volunteer crew members used their extensive training experience and not a little bravery to carry out a rescue in a dangerous sea and thankfully the casualties were brought ashore soon after.
“Situations like this underline how important the RNLI's ongoing 'Respect the Water' campaign is, and demonstrates the unpredictable nature of the sea and just how dangerous it can be.
“The RNLI recommends anyone swimming in the sea should do so at a life guarded beach.
“It's no exaggeration to say that this was very close to becoming a drowning incident.”