A MAN was left fighting for his life after he was found clinging to a buoy in the River Wear with serious injuries.
The emergency services launched a rescue after the man, aged in his mid-20s, was spotted holding onto the float close to the Ropery in Deptford, near to the Queen Alexandra Bridge.
He was later airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA) to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for treatment for multiple injuries, including damage to his pelvis, chest and abdomen, as well as the affects of severe hypothermia.
The drama began to unfold at 5.10pm yesterday, with a member of HM Coastguard first wading out into the river attached to a line in an attempt to reach the man.
A member of an ambulance crew then got into the water further up stream and was carried by the flow to reach him, supporting him until the RNLI’s inshore lifeboat arrived a short time later and took him to shore.
There, he was given treatment and then transferred by ambulance to B&Q car park, where a doctor from the Great North Air Ambulance anaesthetised him and he was then flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
His condition was said to be critical and life-threatening.
Fire crews and police were also involved in the operation and supported the North East Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team, RNLI, Coastguard and GNAA as they worked.