A MAN and a teenager had a lucky escape after losing their paddles while out at sea in a dinghy and drifting more than three quarters of a mile offshore.
Four lifeboats, coastguard crews and the RAF rescue helicopter were launched in a search for the pair after the alarm was raised at around 8pm on Friday, five hours after they had gone out to sea from Easington.
Humber Coastguard was alerted that the man, in his 30s, and youngster, believed to be 13, were still out at sea by relatives becoming increasingly concerned.
Sunderland’s lifeboat and all-weather lifeboat were launched along with lifeboats from Hartlepool.
Fortunately the inshore lifeboat located them at around 9.05pm.
Kenny Hay, RNLI helmsman, said: “They were very lucky.
“They had lost their paddles and were trying to make their way back to shore paddling with their hands, but they were just going in circles.
“They were cold and in shock, especially the youngster, and they were very relieved to see us.”
A Humber Coastguard spokesman said: “The dinghy was towed into Seaham where the pair were met by an ambulance and were checked over.”
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