Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station

Dramatic RNLI lifeboat rescue of Shields Ferry

The cross-Tyne Shields ferry Spirit of the Tyne has been rescued tonight by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers in a dramatic mission.

At 11:30pm on Saturday Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland was requested to launch by Humber Coastguard after one of the the ferry’s engine failed on its final crossing of the night from North to South Shields.

As the lifeboat was being launched the crew of the Port of Tyne Pilot launch Collingwood managed to evacuate the small number of passengers and crew from the ferry, leaving just the skipper who was desperately trying to get the ferry’s engine restarted.

The drifting ferry was then carried several hundred yards downriver by the powerful wind and current until it was caught on the river bank.

The RNLI lifeboat approached the ferry and in a difficult operation the volunteer crew managed to get a tow rope attached and the lifeboat then pulled the stricken vessel away from the rocks, almost becoming grounded itself in the extreme wind.

The lifeboat dragged the ferry back to South Shields ferry landing and almost had it secured when the tow rope parted after becoming snagged on the ferry landing., with the wind again blowing the powerless ferry away from the landing.  The Collingwood again came alongside the ferry to transfer a crew member back onto the ferry, then pushed the ferry alongside the landing where both crews rushed to secure it with mooring ropes,

Once the ferry was safe and there was no further danger to it or anyone, the lifeboat returned to station.

Lifeboat: 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland