A ROTHERHAM man on a stag weekend in Whitley Bay had to be rescued from the North Sea after being swept off the promenade.
The man, who has not been named, was caught by rough sea waves pounding against the shore at the Tyneside resort and was said by lifeguards to be in serious trouble.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeguards, who were on patrol on the beach, were alerted at about 10am on yesterday.
When they arrived they found the man being thrown against the promenade wall by strong waves.
One lifeguard entered the water with an inflatable rescue tube but by then the man had drifted around 200m from shore.
Help was requested from the RNLI’s Cullercoats lifeboat station and its volunteer crew launched within minutes.
One of the crew members, Peter Clark, said: “We used the training we have received to try to manoeuvre the lifeboat as close to the casualty as possible, but the water was too shallow for us to get close enough.
“We could see the man was getting extremely tired by this point and our main concern was to get him out as quickly as possible.”
On the shore about 20 people had gathered including lifeguards, police and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade.
They tried throwing a tow line from the lifeguard truck to the casualty and eventually he was pulled back to safety.
RNLI lifeguard supervisor Chris Mason said: “Once we decided using the tow rope was the best option to get the casualty to safety as quickly as possible it was a real team effort. We worked extremely closely with the volunteer crews, police and members of the public, and this gentleman is extremely lucky to be alive.
“Once he was safely ashore he was taken to hospital by ambulance.”