Three men were rescued by lifeboat crews on Friday after their boat lost power and crashed into rocks.
The boat had come aground just after 7.30pm at the south end of Newbiggin Bay, known as Sandy Bay.
It is believed the men were trying to get out of the River Wansbeck on a fishing trip, when their boat lost power and despite trying to use driftwood paddles the 30ft boat and its occupants were washed ashore on rocks.
Two members of the party were able to scramble ashore, but the third man was thrown out of the boat and was being constantly overwhelmed by the sea.
As Coastguards were unable to stretcher the man up a cliff face it was decided to bring in a rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer. In worsening light conditions the helicopter was able to winch the man, believed to be suffering from hypothermia and possible spinal injuries, on board and he was flown to Wansbeck General Hospital.
The other two men were able to make their own way to hospital after being checked by paramedics.
Newbiggin’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Richard Wake Burdon attended the scene and they put crewmembers ashore to help the coastguards treat the injured fisherman.
One eyewitness said: “We were quite surprised when we saw the boat going out. The sea was quite big, they got about a 100 yards out and something went wrong. “A man standing next to me rang the Coastguard, the boat went sideways on to the sea and the waves began crashing over it, the men inside were paddling but getting no where.
“They were just comming into the rocks then one wave threw a man out of the boat. Then the coastguard and lifeboat arrived.”
At the same time Newbiggin lifeboat received a further request from Humber coastguard concerning an unidentified object or possibly a person near to the casualty area.
A search of the area was undertaken by crew members into the darkness but with nothing found except some floating debris the search was called off and the lifeboat returned to station.