The alarm was raised at 6.38pm when members of the public reported to police that they had seen four youths pushing a car down Pottery Bank, Walker, which smashed through railings and plunged into the river Tyne.
Northumbria Police asked Humber Coastguard for assistance, who requested the launch of the lifeboat. They also tasked the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade to assist on shore. Also tasked were the Northumbria Police helicopter, North East Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team and Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue.
The lifeboat with three volunteer crew members launched and headed upriver at best speed, into very strong winds, wintry showers and a fast-ebbing tide which made the river very rough.
Arriving on scene the crew joined the Fire & Rescue boat and the police helicopter in searching the area while shore based teams stood by. The car was completely submerged and not visible from the surface but as there was no suggestion that anyone had been in the car the search was stood down at 7.20pm and the lifeboat returned to station where it was refuelled and made ready for service.
Lifeboat: D-693 Mark Noble
Update: The car has been recovered from the river by police. More from the Chronicle.