A DROWNING thug punched a teenage lifeboat volunteer who was trying to rescue him from the River Wear
Sunderland’s RNLI crew had just saved the stricken man from the freezing waters when he lashed out at the heroic 17-year-old.
The young volunteer was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment following the incident, which took place at around 4.30pm yesterday.
Emergency services were called to the scene after a passer-by spotted the man in the water near to St Mary’s car park, by the Wearmouth Bridge.
Lifeboat crews, police and paramedics were quickly on the scene to pluck the man to safety.
But he is then believed to have carried out the unprovoked assault as stunned emergency service workers looked on.
A RNLI lifeboat crew member told the Echo: “We’d already been out for another incident for a broken-down fishing boat when we were told about this incident at the Wearmouth Bridge.
“He was slightly further upstream from the bridge, but not much.
“The person who telephoned it in said he was directly below St Mary’s car park.
“The initial rescue was the RNLI, coastguards, police and the ambulance service – everyone apart from the fire service really.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “At 4.31pm on Sunday, November 5, police received a report of a 17-year-old man being punched near the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland. Inquiries are ongoing.”