A MAJOR search operation involving two RNLI lifeboats, two shore-based rescue teams, Police and a Rescue Helicopter was launched in the early hours of Friday morning after a distressed woman threatened self harm near cliffs at South Shields.
The woman contacted police who then started searching for her in the vicinity of Marsden. Her car was found near cliffs close to Trow Point and police then requested assistance from UK Coastguard.
Both Tynemouth RNLI all weather and inshore lifeboats were requested to launch at 01:15 to join the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team who were tasked to search for the woman on shore with police officers. A UK Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was scrambled from its Humberside Airport base.
The RNLI lifeboats searched the shore from Trow Point along to the South Tyne pier while the shore teams worked their way along the cliff tops and beaches.
After the search had been ongoing for nearly an hour the woman again contacted police who were able to work out her approximate location, close to Target Rock which is at the southern end of Sandhaven beach. As the lifeboats and shore teams converged on the position, Police officers confirmed that the woman had been found hiding in long grass near to the cliff edge and had been secured from coming to any harm.
UK Coastguard operators at their Humber Operations Centre were satisfied there was no danger of the woman or any of the other rescuers entering the water and stood the lifeboats down at 02:20.
The operation to get the woman to safety continued and the Coastguard Rescue helicopter arrived soon after, landing on the cliff top to allow their paramedic to assist the rescue teams in stretchering the woman off the cliff to a waiting ambulance on the Coast Road.
Once the casualty was in the ambulance and on her way to hospital, the remaining search teams were stood down at 02:50.
Lifeboats: D-693 Mark Noble and 17-20 Spirit of Northumberland