Volunteer RNLI crews spent 19 hours at sea on Tuesday as they rescued the stricken vessel
RNLI crews from Tynemouth were involved in the charity’s longest ever callout on Tuesday after spending 19 hours rescuing a sinking fishing vessel.
Lifeboat volunteers spent a record amount of time involved in the dramatic rescue mission after a vessel began taking on water 110 miles off the north east coast of England.
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The lone skipper of Louise Thomsen, a decommissioned Danish trawler, first raised the alarm at 6am as he made his way to Sunderland.
A coastguard helicopter initially responded to the call for help, with crews winching a pump onboard to stabilise the vessel and stop the ingress of water.
After establishing the boat was no long in danger, the helicopter left the scene, with an RNLI lifeboat then sent out to escort the vessel to shore.
However, four and a half hours after setting off from Tynemouth, lifeboat volunteers were unable to locate the vessel.
An RNLI spokesperson said: “The crew started a search and Humber Coastguard tasked coastguard rescue helicopter 912 back to the scene.
“The helicopter crew thankfully managed to contact the vessel by radio and got his position, and an RAF Sentry airborne early warning aircraft also joined the search, pinpointing the trawler’s Automatic Identification System transmissions.”
Once informed of the vessel’s new position, the lifeboat crew travelled another 30 miles to reach the Louise Thomsen.
Amid poor sea conditions and winds of up to 30mph, RNLI volunteers managed to attach a towline to the trawler in order to bring the boat to shore.
Tynemouth RNLI’s Adrian Don said: “This rescue operation has seen the lifeboat and helicopter crews working together under the coordination of Humber Coastguard, with the RAF also assisting.
“The rescue effort took a dramatic turn for the worse when the Louise Thomsen wasn’t in her expected position but the rescue crews followed their extensive training and located her quickly.
“110 nautical miles is the furthest out to sea any RNLI lifeboat has been on a ‘shout’ and was the very edge of our Severn class lifeboat’s range which is limited by the amount of fuel she carries. The previous record distance was 98nm, set by the Valencia RNLI lifeboat in 1985
Once the Louise Thomsen was safely tied up at Sunderland Fish Quay, the lifeboat returned to lifeboat station at 4.30am on Wednesday, 19 hours after launching.