Fisherman saves teenager who fell from South Tyneside cliffs

A quick-thinking fisherman who saved the life of a teenager after he fell from cliffs says he just did what any decent person would do.

Tuesday, 15th November 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:38 pm
Fisherman Brian Marshall who resided a teenager from cliffs at Marsden Bay

Brian Marshall had been fishing on Camel’s Island at Marsden, South Shields, on Thursday, when he decided to go home at about 7pm.

It was then he spotted an abandoned mountain bike, and a quick search led him to an injured teenager at the foot of the cliffs.

Fisherman Brian Marshall next to where he found the bike.

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Had it not been for a chance decision by Brian, the teenager could have lay there all night in freezing conditions.

Instead of turning left and heading up Marsden Bank, Brian decided to go right, along the cliff edge towards the Bamburgh pub.

It was that split-second decision which enabled Brian to see a mountain bike leaning up against the cliff edge’s railings.

Its owner, a 17-year-old man, had fallen 50ft to an alcove below and broken his legs.

Honorary secretary Tom Fennelly of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.

Brian said: “I don’t know why I didn’t go left like I usually do. It was pitch black and I had my headlamp on.

“But for some reason I went the other way and then I spotted the bike, so I went over and realised it wasn’t locked and next to it was a lot of personal items lined up.

“I started to shout and I made contact with a young lad down below who was in agony. He’s been so lucky to survive this, it’s a good 50ft drop.

Brian’s mobile was flat, so he flagged down a car on the Coast Road, and a passer-by offered him a phone to use.

Fisherman Brian Marshall next to where he found the bike.

He then raced back to the teenager and scrambled down a path to wait with him until the emergency services arrived.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade (SSVLB) and firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team then worked together to winch the teenager back up the cliffs.

Brian said: “I just stayed with him and chatted, he was freezing so I gave him my clothes to help keep him warm.

“He was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, but he’s doing well at the moment.

Honorary secretary Tom Fennelly of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.

“We’ve since became friends on Facebook and he’s thanked me and the rescue crews for saving him - which is very kind of him.

“I just did what any decent person would do in a situation like this.”

Tom Fennelly, honorary secretary of SSVLB, has also praised Brian.

He said: “What Brian did was very commendable. But we always urge people to make sure they’re in a safe spot themselves before calling 999.

“This young man has been very lucky, the tide would have came back in at some point and this situation could been very precarious.”