Lifeboat volunteers based at Tynemouth and Sunderland Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) stations were called into action this afternoon (Sunday 26 June) as part of a rescue operation to save a 7m fishing boat and its eight crew after it started sinking 1 mile off Seaburn, Sunderland.
A major search operation was started just after 3:45pm this afternoon after the crew onboard issued a ‘Mayday’ distress message stating that their boat was holed and taking on water fast. This information was received by Humber Coastguard who then coordinated the search operation.
Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat was returning to the Tyne after a training exercise with a Coastguard rescue helicopter when the volunteer crew overheard the distress radio call and were heading back out to sea when they were tasked to assist the stricken anglers, along with Sunderland RNLI lifeboat. The rescue helicopter also returned to the area. A rescue water craft was also dispatched from Roker RNLI beach lifeguard unit and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked to assist from shore. A number of other angling boats and a sail training vessel vessel that had been nearby kept watch over the anglers until the lifeboats arrived.
After getting to the scene as fast as possible the Tynemouth lifeboat crew found the anglers desperately trying to bale the water out from their boat and immediately evacuated them onto the lifeboat as the Sunderland lifeboat arrived. Crew members from both lifeboats went onboard the boat to set up water pumps in an attempt to stabilise the water ingress. After about 30 minutes it was decided that the boat was stable enough to be towed back to Sunderland by Tynemouth lifeboat while the volunteers continued pumping water out of the boat.
On arrival at Sunderland harbour it was agreed with the Harbour Master to beach the boat on North Sands near The Glass Centre. The anglers were transferred to safety on dry land from the Tynemouth lifeboat by Sunderland RNLI’s inshore lifeboat that had now also joined the rescue effort.
Once the angling boat was aground Tynemouth lifeboat was stood down and returned to station after refuelling, arriving at 18:45.
Lifeboat (relief): 17-17 Fraser Flyer