A Good Samaritan came to the rescue of two fishermen who found themselves in trouble off the Hartlepool coast when their dinghy overturned in rough seas.
The drama unfolded at 2.55pm yesterday, when the Humber Coastguard received a call from a member of the public saying that a boat was in trouble.
Members of the Hartlepool and Seaham Coastguard Rescue Teams, who are on call 24 hours a day, were on the scene next to Newburn Bridge within minutes.
When they arrived they found one man being treated by paramedics for hypothermia and secondary drowning. The other said he was okay, but was advised to go for a check-up.
Steve Hart, deputy station officer with Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, said: "These two men, one in his 50s and the other in his late 20s or early 30s, had gone out fishing in a 10ft inflatable dinghy.
"A member of the public on the shore had seen they were in difficulties about half a mile offshore, and called ourselves and the ambulance service.
"By the time we got there this passer-by had dragged the two men out of the surf, where they'd been carried by the tide after their dinghy overturned.
"One was treated by a paramedic and then taken to North Tees Hospital, and the other said he was fine, though he was advised to have a check-up.
"We didn't get the details of the man who went to their rescue, but they were very lucky he was passing and saw what happened.
"The sea was quite rough, and their dinghy got overturned by a wave. He saw they were in trouble and went into the surf to rescue them.
"They did have life-jackets on, but they seem to have completely misjudged the weather conditions, and the dinghy they were in was not suitable for the sea."
It is believed the man who was taken to hospital was kept in overnight, and was due to be released today.