Man and boy pulled from upturned boat in dramatic sea rescue off Hartlepool coast
A man and boy have been taken to hospital after their boat upturned while fishing off the Hartlepool coast.
A major rescue operation was launched after a member of the public heard desperate cries for help coming from the boat in an area of the sea off The Headland, earlier this afternoon.
The one-hour, 20 minute rescue involved Hartlepool coast Guard Rescue Team, The RNLI and a shipping vessel, which had responded to a broadcast on the Coastguard's emergency VHF channel 16.
After being given first-aid, the pair were taken to hospital separately in two different ambulances, to be treated for secondary drowning.
A spokesman for Humber Coastguard said: "We took a call at 1.10pm from a member of the public.
"It was a 999 call and she was reporting a small upturned boat and two people waving and shouting for help, close to the lighthouse.
"We immediately paged the RNLI life boat and the Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team, and we sent an broadcast to shipping vessels in the area on VHF channel 16.
"A pilot boat from the Tees responded and tried to rescue one person.
"The pilot boat was then hit by a large wave, cutting the engine out. and we initially lost the person we tried to rescue.
"The RNLI inshore lifeboat then turned up and rescued them.
"The second person, we lost in the surf - it was becoming a fairly critical situation.
"That person was washed ashore near a construction area further north of the scene.
"Both were in a pretty bad way.
"One of them was given first aid on the scene and the second was taken to the lifeboat station."
Both were taken to University Hospital North Tees, where they were treated for secondary drowning.
"It was a male in his late 30s from Bishop Auckland, who had been fishing his young nephew on a sport fisher," the spokesperson said.
"A fairly large wave or swell engulfed the vessel and tipped it over when they were fishing.
"Thankfully, both recovered fairly well but they were very cold from being in the water.
"They had symptoms of secondary drowning from ingesting sea water and were coughing and spluttering."
He added: "They weren't doing anything foolish or anything - but unfortunately they were caught out by a freak swell that tipped them over.
"We couldn't recover the boat initially, and we had further calls from people seeing the upturned boat, but it has now been brought ashore."
Humber Coastguard would like to thank the woman who made the initial 999 call, enabling them to act quickly and avoid a tragedy.