A RESCUE bid was launched after the woman was spotted standing on the wrong side of railings on the Wearmouth Bridge.
A concerned passerby called 999, after seeing the woman on the eastbound side of the bridge, shortly before 11.50pm on Saturday.
Police were called to the bridge and Sunderland lifeboat crews dispatched to the River Wear underneath by Humber Coastguard.
After the woman became more upset, Sunderland Coastguard’s specialist rope rescue team were brought in.
Members of the six-strong crew climbed over the bridge’s railings at the southerly side of the river and put the distressed woman into a harness.
She was winched up to the pavement and taken to a safe place by police.
Neil Mearns, Coastguard rescue officer from Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team, said: “The Rescue Team responded to the incident, meeting with the police.
“The woman became more agitated and it was requested that the Coastguard intervene.
“The rope rescue team climbed over to the outside of the bridge and secured the woman in a harness.”
The bridge remained open during the rescue, which took about 40 minutes.