Snorkelers praised after rescuing woman from sea at South Shields
Snorkelers have been praised for rescuing a woman who was struggling in the North Sea.
The man and woman spotted the woman in difficulty off the South Shields coast while they were in the water themselves near Trow Rocks and managed to swim back to Graham Sands with her.
Onlookers had already alerted the emergency services and the casualty was lifted on to a stretcher and rushed by a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat from the small cove to the more accessible Sandhaven Beach.
An ambulance was waiting to take the woman, who was still conscious after her ordeal, to hospital.
The snorkelers, who included a trained lifeguard, have been praised for their actions by a witness.
Nick Jones, owner of nearby South Shields Surf School, heard the commotion and rushed to Graham Sands.
He said: “They did an amazing job and risked their own safety to help this woman.
“It is fortunate for her that they were in the right place at the right time and I dread to think what might have happened if they weren’t there.
“One of them said she was a pool lifeguard and this is the important message out of all of this.
“If you see someone in distress then don’t try to rescue them yourself.
“Call 999 and leave it to the experts or you yourself could be in trouble.”
The snorkelers, who were visiting South Shields from Edinburgh, were said by the Coastguard service to have swum around 50 yards back to Graham Sands with the woman.
The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was there to lift her on to a rescue board so that the RNLI inshore lifeboat could take her to the ambulance.
A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at around 2.20pm on Sunday afternoon to say a female had been in the water and was at The Water’s Edge.
“An ambulance and three hazardous area response team vehicles attended.
“The person was breathing and conscious and was taken to South Tyneside Hospital’s A and E department.”
The condition of the woman, believed to be in her late teens or early 20s, is unknown.