A BOAT carrying three Hartlepool anglers was saved in a dramatic operation after it started to sink.
The Ocean Pearl, which is berthed in Hartlepool, got into trouble when it started to take on water quicker than the passengers could bail it out.
They alerted the coastguard for help and four lifeboats were launched.
They included Hartlepool’s the all weather and inshore lifeboats and another two from Redcar.
The 21ft pleasure boat was towed to safety by a passing fishing boat which answered a call by coastguards.
A rescue helicopter which was in the area on operations was also sent to the scene, but was stood down when the lifeboats arrived.
The drama took place around two nautical miles off the coast of Redcar at around 9am on Saturday.
Lifeboat crews pumped water from the Ocean Pearl and escorted it back to Redcar beach.
It was towed back to Hartlepool on the back of a trailer.
Mike Craddy, Hartlepool lifeboats operations manager said: “She was taking on water and we launched both boats.
“We transferred our pump to the boat and we managed to pump the water out of her.
“It was decided to beach the boat at Redcar. The owner got his trailer from Hartlepool and went back for the boat and brought it back to Hartlepool.
“The three people on board were all safe and well.”