Nine-year-old boy sparks coastal search after going missing off Seaburn

The RNLI's inshore lifeboat was part of the search earlier on today.
The RNLI's inshore lifeboat was part of the search earlier on today.

A search operation was launched after boy who had been dodging waves was feared missing in the sea.

The Coastguard from Sunderland, South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade (SSVLB), Northumbria Police and the Atlantic 85 and D Class inshore lifeboats from Sunderland's RNLI were called out at about 2.30pm today after the alarm was raised.

The police force and the Coastguard's helicopters were also brought in to support the search for the nine-year-old off the Whitburn Road area.

However, the Coastguard said the search came to a close after the boy, who had been seen dodging the waves, was found at home a short distance away.

The call had been made to the emergency services after someone looking on had lost sight of him and feared he had been pulled out into the water.

Northumbria Police has sent its thanks to members of the public who helped with the search.

Superintendent Mick Paterson said: “There was a substantial police presence in the area as we launched an extensive search for the boy and I would like to thank members of the public who went out of their way to help us.

“All available police resources, both uniformed, plain clothes and operations support, have been dedicated to looking for the young boy and we’re pleased we have been able to find him safe and well.

“I would also like to thank the Coastguard, who immediately launched two boats, RNLI and the fire service for their assistance.”

A spokesman for Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team added: "Whilst on a local area patrol the full team were paged to proceed immediately to Seaburn after a nine-year-old boy was reported missing after being seen dodging waves.

"Arriving on scene quickly we geared in our water rescue equipment and commenced a search of the area.

"Police units started a search of the paths and Roker park.

"We were joined by South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade and the fire service who also assited in search operations while the police helicopter carried out an air search, and both Sunderland Lifeboats a seaward search.

"Just as we completed our first search area and the Coastguard rescue helicopter was approaching the scene we received the good news that the boy had been found at home safe and well.

"As a result all units were stood down."

Paul Nicholson, helmsman of Sunderland RNLI, said: "The waves were probably about 1.5 metres high.

"The sea conditions were very difficult for both our inshore lifeboats.

"We were all extremely relieved that the child had been found safe and well at home.

"Everybody is delighted about the outcome."

"This was a good reminder that people should make sure they call 999 and ask for the Coastguard when something like this happens.

"There was a huge response from the emergency services and lots of members of the general public also offered to join in, which was good to know.

"The caller did the right thing because it's cold in the water at any time, but especially at this time of year."

The Coastguard can be called in case of a coastal emergency via 999.