Stranded fisherman rescued from Blyth pier

A fisherman who was stranded on Blyth pier by raging seas yesterday was rescued by lifeboat crews.

Blyth RNLI volunteer crew was paged at 2.20pm to help the local Coastguard team to reach the fisherman at the end of the East Pier.

Fisherman being rescued from Blyth pier yesterday. Picture by John Tuttiett.

Fisherman being rescued from Blyth pier yesterday. Picture by John Tuttiett.

Both the station's inshore lifeboats were launched and reached the fisherman, who was found sheltering by the lighthouse.

The conditions caused by the tidal surge and the rising tide were so bad that back-up help from the Coastguard helicopter was requested.

The volunteer crew kept watch on the fisherman and were joined alongside by the Blyth pilot boat.

But due to the worsening conditions and with the aid of the pilot boat, an RNLI crew member was transferred onto the pier and to make contact with the casualty.

Waves breaking over the pier during yesterday's tidal surge. Picture by John Tuttiett.

Waves breaking over the pier during yesterday's tidal surge. Picture by John Tuttiett.

He was given a lifejacket and, with high tide approaching, it was decided that there was a danger that both men would be swamped and possibly washed off the pier.

So the crew member monitored the oncoming waves and escorted the casualty back along the pier to a point where they could board the pilot boat and return to safety.

Both lifeboats then escorted the pilot boat back to the lifeboat station and the fisherman was handed over to awaiting local Coastguard unit.

Graham Short, helmsman of the B Class lifeboat Vic & Billie Whiffen, said: "The conditions were very challenging this afternoon and especially as we were aware of the high tide due. We'd urge people to think about the weather conditions and the warnings that we given out before making a decision as to whether they are going to potentially put themselves at risk. We are glad that this ended with a safe conclusion."