Tributes have been paid to a young fisherman who lost his life in a Hartlepool boating tragedy.
The victim, named locally as Lee Renney, 22, died while on a fishing trip with members of his family on Friday evening.
Police say he fell into the water after getting tangled in a rope about half a mile from the Heugh Pier on Friday evening.
A massive land and sea rescue operation was launched – with Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat crews joined at the scene by an air ambulance and police – but he could not be saved.
Mr Renney’s parents wished to make no comment at their home in Powlett Road, Hartlepool, yesterday.
Police say the fishing boat had been setting lobster pots when Mr Renney got his foot caught and went overboard.
Inspector Ashley Harvey, of Cleveland Police, said: “There is an investigation under way between the police and the Marine Accident Investigation branch to investigate the circumstances around the incident.”
A statement on the force’s Facebook page said: “The 22-year-old man was fishing with his brother, nephew and a female at 7.25pm when his foot got tangled in the ropes of the fishing net and he fell into the water.
“He was in the water for a very short time before the RNLI came to his aid. Air ambulance were alerted and attended along with the coastguard, who also assisted with his rescue, but unfortunately the young man died.”
A RNLI spokesman said: “When the Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat arrived on scene the man had already been recovered from the sea and was on the fishing boat.
“An RNLI volunteer crew member was transferred onto the fishing boat and he began medical treatment on the casualty.
“The all- weather lifeboat arrived moments later and Hartlepool RNLI’s doctor was transferred to the vessel and took over the CPR.
“The fishing boat was escorted to Hartlepool lifeboat station, while the medical care continued on the casualty.
“He was transferred to the pontoon, where the all-weather lifeboat is moored, and further efforts were made to revive him.”
A neighbour said: “You can’t even begin to imagine what his family are going through.”
Scores of condolences have been left on the Mail’s Facebook page. Lesley Patterson said: “So sad, RIP Lee, thinking of your family at this sad time, 22 is so young.”
Susan Measor added; “My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. RIP Lee.”