Hungry seal sparked 999 rescue by tipping fisherman into the sea

The casualty is helped from the RNLI inshore lifeboat to awaiting coastguards on the beach. Picture by Tom Collins.
The casualty is helped from the RNLI inshore lifeboat to awaiting coastguards on the beach. Picture by Tom Collins.
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A HUNGRY seal on the hunt for mackerel led to a kayaker being capsized and dramatically rescued from the sea.

The man had spent an hour in the water before he was plucked to safety by the Hartlepool RNLI volunteer crew on Wednesday evening, as revealed by this website that night.

An off-duty policeman raised the alarm when he spotted the man in the sea at around 5.25pm near Marine Drive.

The man had caught 20 mackerel and it has now emerged that he was holding them in a net when the seal bumped his kayak and stole the fish, tipping him into the sea.

By the time RNLI crew member Ken Hay pulled him from the water, the man, who was wearing a wet suit, was struggling.

Mr Hay said: “He was tired and appeared a bit disorientated.”

The kayaker was checked over by Hartlepool RNLI’s volunteer crew members and taken on to the beach where ambulance medics examined him.

He did not need hospital treatment.

Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI’s operations manager, said: “It appeared that the man had been fishing from his kayak and had caught about 20 mackerel and had them in a net over the side.

“A seal bumped into the kayak, capsizing it, and grabbed the net and fish for its tea.

“Hartlepool RNLI’s volunteer crew members train regularly for incidents like this and are pleased the man has recovered and didn’t need hospital treatment.”