A DAD-OF-TWO risked his own life to save a seal that was being battered against the sea wall.
Nathan Clark stripped off and jumped into the rising tide to save a seal which he says wouldn’t have survived being bashed against the promenade wall by the crashing waves.
The 39-year-old said: “It was quite rough and the tide was coming up.
“I couldn’t watch the poor thing getting smashed against the wall while I was stood there.
“It’s my good deed for the year.”
Nathan was walking his dog on the promenade at Hartlepool’s Headland, near where Marine Drive meets Seaview Terrace, when he spotted the young seal which he said looked “dead”, being tossed about by the incoming tide.
His dog, a five-year-old springer spaniel named Oscar, ran down a slope into the waves and started barking at the stricken animal, believed to be a baby.
As the seal lifted its head up, Nathan realised it was still alive.
He looked at an app on his phone and realised high tide was just half an hour away, so decided he had to do something to save the seal.
“I tried to move it, but it was going for me,” said Nathan, a production supervisor at TMD Friction.
So he dashed to his home in nearby Northgate to get some blankets to try to pick up the mammal.
On his return, with daughter Millie, a 10-year-old St Bega’s pupil, the tide was even higher and the seal was “getting smashed against the wall”, said Nathan.
He said: “I thought I’d better do something.
“The waves were quite big.
“I was thinking ‘am I going to get bashed against the wall’, but a lad went past and said he would shout if he saw any waves coming’.”
So Nathan, who is married to Angela, a 37-year-old progress leader at Dyke House Sports and Technology College and also dad to 13-year-old English Martyrs student Alisha, stripped off his top and ran towards the waves.
He tried to pick up the seal in the waist-deep water, but it was “going for” him, he said.
“Every time the tide came in, I was panicking myself,” he said.
After a 15-minute struggle, Nathan was able to pick up the seal and carry it up the slope to safety, having attracted a small crowd.
Headland photographer Michael Gant was waiting and David Wilson from British Divers Marine Life Rescue took along a basket.
David took it away and later released it at Seal Sands.
“I would do it again,” said Nathan.
“Someone at the shop said they thought they saw the seal in trouble the day before. “It might not have survived another hour.”
Michael said: “He saved that seal’s life.”
A British Divers Marine Life Rescue spokeswoman advised people to leave seals alone and to contact themselves or the RSPCA if they believe a seal is in difficulty.