SEARCHES are continuing today a man missing after being swept out to sea off Hendon Beach.
The man and a woman, both in their 30s, are believed to have gone into the North Sea in an attempt to rescue a dog at about 4pm yesterday. The woman was pulled from the waves and taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, but rescuers were too late to reach the man.
Coastguard officers and Sunderland’s RNLI lifeboat swept the waters off the beach for hours yesterday evening.
Coastguard area commander Greg Albrighton was in charge of co-ordinating the search efforts.
He said: “By the time anyone got here, there was time to rescue the woman, but the man had disappeared.
“We have heard he went into the water after the dog got into trouble. The two people went in after the dog.
“It would have been very, very rough, at the time, with the waves battering on the rocks.”
Rescue efforts had been hampered by the tidal conditions at the beach, he said.
“It was pretty much high water when we got here. The conditions made it impossible to go into the water,” he said.
Rescuers were expecting to carry on working after darkness fell.
“We will be here until at least low water, so we can check all the outflows and check the rock armoury again,” said Mr Albrighton.
The Coastguard continued searching for the man in the sea late into the night and will resume their search this morning, along with Northumbria Police divers.
Police have informed next of kin and are providing support for the families.