First rescue for new Staithes lifeboat

The new Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat. Picture: RNLI
The new Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat. Picture: RNLI

Staithes and Runswick RNLI’s new lifeboat was in action last night just 48 hours after coming into service.

The new Atlantic 85 Sheila & Dennis Tongue III spent more than four hours at sea looking after a night angler under Boulby cliff.

The 35 year-old man had become separated from two colleagues and got lost on the foreshore after descending the 600 ft cliff, the highest on England’s East coast, on a steep scramble known as Rope Walk.

After the alarm was raised to the Coastguard, the Staithes lifeboat launched and located the missing man. Crew member Tim Hurford swam ashore from the lifeboat to see that he was safe, 20 feet above the high tide mark.

Because of the swell and the big rocks under the cliff, helmsman Mark Porritt kept the lifeboat stood off at sea until high tide had safely passed while Coastguards stayed at the top of the cliff.

The four strong volunteer crew returned to Staithes at 3 am this morning (Tuesday).

Sean Baxter, Deputy Launch Authority at the station, said: "This is a difficult and dangerous descent at night and we do urge anglers to know their tide times, stay together and ensure they have good communications if they get into trouble. The new lifeboat and crew acquitted themselves admirably in difficult and unpleasant conditions."