Throwline saves another life after dramatic response on Newcastle Quayside

Throw-lines installed on Quayside have been praised again by firefighters – after they saved another life last week.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have hailed the life-saving equipment after a water rescue on Thursday evening.

They received an emergency call from a member of the public who reported that a teenage male was in the River Tyne near the Millennium Bridge.

Firefighters rushed to the scene where they found that a member of staff at the Urban Garden had already deployed a throw-line.

She had been trained by TWFRS water rescue lead Tommy Richardson, Elliott Rogers and Geoff Cowan from the RNLI as part of the Community Responder Scheme earlier this year.

And her training allowed her to deploy the life-saving equipment and assist the intoxicated male who was struggling in the River Tyne.

Upon the arrival of TWFRS crews, the teenager was at the ladders and was assisted to shore by firefighters before being attended to by paramedics as a precaution.

Today (Tuesday) the Service’s water rescue specialist has praised the staff member and reiterated the importance of having throwlines close to hand.

FF Richardson said: “First and foremost we are relieved this incident did not result in tragedy as we could easily have been talking about a fatality in the water.

“This was a fantastic intervention by the Urban Garden employee who put her training to the test and deployed the throw-line in really good time.

“The throwline did its job. It helped secure the man in place and gradually bring him closer to the ladder where he could self-rescue with the assistance of firefighters.

“This week is the launch of Drowning Prevention Week and this incident shows the value of the Community Responder Scheme, and why waterside businesses should be seeking to train their staff.

“But we also want to make clear that entering the water under the influence of alcohol can be very dangerous. Alcohol and drugs can seriously impair your ability to stay safe in the water.

“The River Tyne is also not an appropriate stretch of water to go for a swim and that is why we have invested so heavily in the Quayside. We are glad that investment is proving its worth.”

Saturday (June 17th) marked the beginning of the Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) Drowning Prevention Week, a campaign being supported by TWFRS as they share messaging around water safety.

TWFRS and the RNLI have been running throw-bag training with businesses across Tyne and Wear for nearly four years with hundreds of riverside business staff trained in how to use them.

They have spearheaded the introduction of more of the throw-bag boards and have earlier this year welcomed an investment by Newcastle City Council into 14 new throw-line boards along the River Tyne.

The newly installed throw-bags stretch from the Redheugh Bridge to The Cycle Hub at Newcastle’s Ouseburn and are accessed by calling 999 and being provided with a code.

The throw-lines saved a life within the first two weeks of installation and have once again proved their worth with another life-saving intervention.

If any waterside businesses want to receive training as part of the Community Responder Scheme, or if anyone wants more resources on water safety, then they are encouraged to get in touch at