Humber Coastguard paged the inshore lifeboat at 15:03 after receiving multiple 999 calls from members of the public who witnessed the incident. Several crew were still at the station after an earlier exercise so the lifeboat was launched very quickly. Speeding the short distance to the incident at Herd Sands, opposite the lifeboat station in the lower Tyne harbour, the three volunteer crew members quickly located a male casualty, floating in the water.
The man was not breathing and he was quickly pulled into the lifeboat. The crew requested an ambulance and sped back to the lifeboat station while using their casualty care training to attempt to resuscitate him using CPR.
The man was landed back at the station and the crew continued their attempts to revive him. Paramedics arrived soon after and took over, also requesting the North East Air Ambulance.
The attempts to resuscitate the casualty continued, The Air Ambulance landed close to the lifeboat station and the paramedics were joined by the Air Ambulance Doctor who continued treatment.
The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were also tasked and supported the rescue efforts by keeping roads and the helicopter landing site clear.
Sadly, after every attempt possible had been made to save the man’s life, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man has been named as 44-year-old Billy Carruthers from South Shields and our sincere sympathies go out to his family and friends.
This is a tragic reminder that the sea is a dangerous environment, even when it looks inviting. The RNLI aims to reduce coastal drownings by half, by 2024, the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the RNLI.
More information about staying safe in or near water can be found at www.respectthewater.com