LIFESAVERS are warning people not to take toy dinghies out to sea after rescuing two stranded girls.
Hartlepool RNLI crew members saved girls aged 11 and 12 who had been desperately trying to get back to shore for an hour in a 6ft-long inflatable.
They were found at the entrance to the River Tees helplessly drifting on the high spring tide.
The volunteer crew had been called out by HM Coastguard at 5.28pm on Sunday and were at the scene by 5.42pm.
The girls, both from Redcar, were lifted from the water along with their dinghy and were taken to the old Teesmouth Lifeboat slipway in an inshore lifeboat.
Gary Waugh, mechanic at Hartlepool RNLI, said: “Although the sea was calm, the girls were caught out by the high spring tide and had been struggling to get back to shore for an hour.
“They were cold and tired and were met on shore by an ambulance that took them to James Cook Hospital, in Middlesbrough, to be checked out for hypothermia.”
Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI operations manager, added: “We strongly advise that toy dinghies are never taken to sea and that children playing in them are supervised by an adult at all times.”