Three hour sea search was a false alarm

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A major air and sea search was launched last Friday night after an angler was feared swept off Staithes pier in high seas and strong winds.

RNLI lifeboats from Staithes and Whitby were joined by Coastguard teams and a search and rescue helicopter in an operation that lasted nearly three hours in challenging winter conditions.

The alarm was raised at 9pm after a night angler on Staithes South Pier noticed that the torchlight of another night angler on the North Pier had disappeared as waves broke over the pier at high tide.

It turned out that the angler had realised conditions were getting too dangerous and made his way off the pier.

He reported himself safe when he heard about the search.

A spokesman for Staithes and Runswick RNLI said: “It was a gruelling two and a half hour night-time search for the crews in a three metre swell and Force 5 winds.

“The Staithes piers always need to be respected at high water and in high seas.

“The angler was right to go home and the other angler was right to report his concern.

“It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”