A Sunderland man who was stranded 110 miles off the coast in the North Sea is back home safe today after an 18 hour rescue mission.
The coastguard received a mayday call on Monday night from a man who it’s thought regularly brings decomissioned Danish fishing trawlers back to Wearside before selling them on as leisure craft.
A six-man crew from Tynemouth RNLI set off at 9.30am yesterday in their all-weather lifeboat to try and tow it back to the North East in what’s thought to be the organisations longest ever mission.
Meanwhile a rescue helicopter from Humberside had reached the vessel prior to their arrival and supplied a pump which has prevented it taking on any more water.
However, the Humber Coastguard has confirmed the man and the Tynemouth RNLI crew made it back to Sunderland harbour at 2.49am this morning.
A spokesman said: “The stricken boat was towed back and they all arrived back at Sunderland Harbour at 2.49am. It was a rather long shift for them all.”
Last night Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, was worried weather conditions may have made the rescue efforts more difficult.
He said: “I’ve spoken to the coastguard and we believed it’s a boat called The Louise Thomsen.
“The crew set off at 9.30am, so we think they will have reached the boat now, but it could be another 12 hours at least before they are back.
“Once they’ve got to the boat, they will probably bring it back to Sunderland.
“There’s a strong breeze at the minute and out to see it will be a lot heavier. It’s not ideal, but the crew will have to get the boat out.
“If the man was in any danger they would have airlifted him out.”
On arriving at where the boat was thought to be, the rescue crew had to travel 30 miles south of that point after the vessel drifted.
The lifeboat crew made an assessment of the situation and although the vessel was still capable of moving under her own power it was decided it would be best to tow the Louise Thomsen back to safety in Sunderland harbour.
Mr Don added: “This is the furthest out to sea any RNLI lifeboat has been on service and is at the very edge of our Severn class lifeboat’s range which is limited by the amount of fuel she carries.
“The operation is ongoing and our volunteer crew members won’t be seeing any rest until Wednesday morning but I doubt any of them will mind as they have done a fantastic job, as has everyone else involved.”