Fishing boat sinks after catching fire off the Hartlepool coast
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Photos from the scene show a boat engulfed in flames as plumes of smoke climbed above the vessel.
Hartlepool RNLI have said that a 21-ft fishing coble was well alight and that its skipper was able to board another fishing boat.
Both Hartlepool RNLI boats launched at 10.35 am and were alongside the stricken vessel within a few minutes.
On arrival at the scene, a lifeboat crew member from the inshore lifeboat was placed aboard the second fishing boat that had taken the skipper to provide casualty care although none was required.
Both the inshore and all weather lifeboats stood by as a fire fighting tug from the River Tees arrived to douse the flames.
Hartlepool RNLI deputy launch authority Steve Pounder said: “Once again a rapid response from the volunteer crewmembers meant we were quickly on scene to assist and keep the area clear of other vessels whilst the tug extinguished the fire.
"The inshore lifeboat recovered some debris from the sea.”
The coble later sank and both boats returned to the Ferry Road lifeboat station at 12.10pm and were refuelled and made ready for service by 12.30pm.
The cause of the blaze has still to be confirmed.