A WOMAN seriously injured after her car plunged 80 feet from South Tyneside cliffs was rescued during the night in a major operation involving both Tynemouth RNLI lifeboats.
The alarm was raised at 2am and police and paramedics initially responded to the incident on the beach near Marsden Grotto.
Humber Coastguard were asked to assist and they immediately requested the launch of both Tynemouth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats, assisted by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team and South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade on shore.
As the lifeboats sped to the incident, it was confirmed that the casualty, a 20 year-old female, had survived the fall and was conscious, although seriously injured.
As paramedics from the North East Ambulance Hazardous Area Team treated the woman, firefighters began cutting her from the wreckage.
Owing to poor visibility caused by fog it was impossible to extract the casualty from the beach by rescue helicopter so it was decided that the best course of action would be to do this using the Tynemouth RNLI lifeboats.
Once out of the car, the woman was put on a stretcher and prepared for transfer by the paramedics before being carried on to the inshore lifeboat which took her to the all weather lifeboat that was standing by off the beach. She was transferred to the larger lifeboat, accompanied by two paramedics, then taken to a waiting ambulance at South Shields ferry landing.
Once she was on her way to hospital, the lifeboats and other teams were stood down at 3.30am.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station said: 'This was a great example of our crews working in close coordination with other emergency services to effect the fastest evacuation of the injured woman.
'Conditions were poor with thick fog but our volunteer crew members used their training and experience to make sure that this didn't affect the rescue.
'We don't know how the car came to go over the cliffs or have any news on how the casualty is doing but we hope she makes a full recovery'.
For more information: Please contact Adrian Don, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07834 731833
Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1862 although there have been lifeboats on the river Tyne since the world's first purpose built lifeboat was launched here in 1790. The station has 30 volunteer crew members who come from all walks of life. We operate two lifeboats: The Severn class all weather lifeboat Spirit of Northumberland and our D class inshore lifeboat Mark Noble. We have a website at www.tynemouth-lifeboat.org, and you can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TynemouthRNLI or follow us on Twitter @TynemouthRNLI.
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland