Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station

Tynemouth lifeboat in 46-mile, four hour search

A life raft washed up on a North Shields beach prompted an extensive search to be carried out by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat on Wednesday.

At around 12 noon a member of the public reported to Humber Coastguard that a life raft had been washed up on the Fish Quay Sands and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were called out to investigate and recover the raft.  A search of the 8 person raft found that it still had various survival packs onboard, including flares which went out of date in 2004, and maintenance records suggesting that it had been last serviced in 2001, meaning it was not approved for use. All markings and serial numbers were passed to the Coastguard who could find no registration details.

As a precaution in case a vessel had been in difficulty and had launched the raft, Humber Coastguard requested the launch of the all weather lifeboat at 3.45pm to carry out a search of the sea in an area where the tide, winds and currents could have potentially carried the raft from.

The lifeboat launched soon after with six volunteer crew members, and a search pattern was established from a point seven miles east of the Tyne piers, extending south by 5 miles, with search legs 1 mile apart. Sea conditions were rough with a 1 to 3 metre swell, with heavy showers and mist restricting visibility, in addition to rapidly approaching darkness.

The 46 mile search was carried out with nothing found and satisfied that there had been no vessel in danger, Humber Coastguard stood the lifeboat down which returned to station after refuelling, arriving at 8.45pm.

Lifeboat: 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland