Swimmer taken to hospital with hypothermia after Sunderland sea rescue

A 67-year-old man was taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia after being plucked from the sea off Sunderland on Saturday, December 5.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 1:26 pm

Emergency services were called to Roker Beach at 10.30am today after reports that two people has become separated from a party of wild swimmers.

Both of Sunderland’s RNLI lifeboats were involved in the operation, as well as the city’s Coastguard Rescue Team, a Coastguard helicopter and local members of Coastwatch.

Sunderland RNLI spokesman Paul Nicholson said: “There was a group of six people swimming in the harbour and two of them got separated from the rest of the group.

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copy pic Sunderland RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Wolseley' at sea under the command of Senior Helmsman Paul Nicholson. Sunderland Lifeboat

"The other four managed to swim ashore and raise the alarm.

"One of the two managed to get themselves ashore as emergency services were arriving on the scene and Coastwatch managed to spot the missing swimmer about a quarter of a mile outside the piers

"Thankfully he was carrying an inflatable buoy for exactly these situations and that was what they were able to see because it is bright orange.

"The helicopter then managed to direct the lifeboat to the location.”

Paul Nicholson

The man was taken aboard the inshore lifeboat then transferred to the larger boat for the journey back to Sunderland.

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"He was very cold and very tired,” Paul added.

“He was 67 – a very fit 67 – but he was 67. He was brought back to the lifeboat station where he was warmed up and given care, then he was handed over to paramedics who carried out an assessment, then taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia.

"Thankfully he was part of a group who did all have safety aids so they were able to get ashore and raise the alarm. We have advised the group to consider investing in personal location beacons which will automatically raise the alarm if they get into difficulties.”

The heavy rains of the last couple of days had created an unusually strong current in the area, Paul said, adding: “It was a combination of the tide going out and the amount of fresh water that was coming down the river.”

A North East Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We got a call at half past 11 to meet the lifeboat. We took one patient to Sunderland Royal with a suspected hip injury.”

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