A MAN was rushed to hospital after falling overboard while taking part in a yacht race.
The man, believed to be in his late 50s and a member of Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club, was about half a mile off Hartlepool’s Steetley pier, when the incident happened.
He was in the water for around 20 minutes until his two team-mates on the 32ft yacht, named Mad Hatter, managed to haul him back on board.
Just as he had got back onto the vessel, Hartlepool RNLI inshore lifeboat reached the yacht and an RNLI volunteer climbed on board to check the man over and give him first aid.
The RNLI crewman remained on the yacht as it was escorted by the lifeboat to the RNLI station, where the man was met by an ambulance.
He was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, though he is thought to be okay.
Hartlepool RNLI operations manager Mike Craddy said: “The man had been taking part in a yacht race from Sunderland to Hartlepool at the time.
“He was working on the deck when I believe the boom swung across and knocked him over.
“There were two other people on the yacht and they managed to get the man back on board.
“We had a crewman on board to check him over and give him first aid.
“We got him warm and brought him straight back to the boathouse, where he was met by the ambulance and paramedics.
“He was okay, just cold.
“It could have been a lot worse but they managed to get him back on board.”
The incident happened around 2.20pm on Saturday and the lifeboat reached the station at 3pm.