Swimmer sparks rescue

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A RESCUE mission was launched after concerns were raised for a swimmer who was thought to be missing in Seaburn bay.

Volunteers from the RNLI were called in to action after a 999 call from a member of the public who was near to the Marriott Hotel and reported they had been watching someone swim in the sea, but had lost sight of them.

The crew launched two of its lifeboats, while the Coastguard also asked a shore-based team from Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade (VLB) and its own station.

After 30 minutes, it became clear other people had seen a swimmer of similar description leaving the sea outside a local restaurant.

Once the information had been confirmed, the search and rescue units were stood down.

Mark Cleminson, helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “We were requested to carry out a search of the water between Cliffe Park and South Bents.

“At the same time, Coastguards and VLB members were speaking to the first informant and other public in the area in an attempt to find out as much information as possible.

“It is exceptionally difficult for a person on the shore to tell if a person in the water is sea swimmer training or someone who might need assistance.

“To reduce the risk of resources being wasted, we urge people taking part in such training swims to contact the coastguard at the start and finish of their swim.”