Whitby’s lifeboat crew thought they would be recovering two bodies from the sea in the dramatic rescue of a dad and his 11 year-old daughter on Sunday evening.
He told the Gazette: “They must have been in the water for the best part of an hour.
“From the 999 call going in - and we are still at home at that point - we have got to get to the boats and down to Robin Hood’s Bay. That is 25 minutes.
“The father was just clinging onto his daughter. He was not just treading water but holding her up as well.
“They were struggling by the time we got there, they were literally fighting for it and going under the water.”
The three crew members on the inshore lifeboat dragged the duo into their vessel and then transferred them to the George and Mary Webb all weather boat, crewedby five, for immediate first aid.
Mr Dowson added: “I was sat in my seat going down there thinking there were going to be bodies in the water or we were going to be trying to revive these people. We had all the kit out ready to do that.
“When we pulled alongside the inshore they were shaken and cold but sat up and talking. It was such a relief and a shock.”
Local coastguards had guided the boats to the exact location at Stoup Beck and the coastguard rescue helicopter was also on the scene. It winched the rescued pair from the lifeboat and took them to James Cook Hospital for treatment and check ups.
Both lifeboats then returned to Whitby and were back in base by 7pm.