Safety message following jet ski rescue on River Tyne

That’s the message from Northumbria Police Marine Unit as they heap praise on a father and son who stayed calm under pressure following a jet ski disaster.

Shortly before 3.50pm on Sunday, police received a 999 call after passers-by witnessed two men leap from their jet ski on the River Tyne.

A father and son’s fun afternoon out was cut short when 10 minutes into their adventure, their jet ski began taking on water. Both jumped off and within minutes the jet ski was fully submerged.

They were rescued by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service who brought them to Friars Goose Marina where Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit were waiting.

The pair were checked over by paramedics and thankfully were uninjured.

Phil Clark, Area Manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This recent father and son rescue on the River Tyne could’ve had such a different ending without the appropriate safety measures being in place.

“Tragedy was evaded by the use of essential safety equipment, the compassion of other river users and of course the partnership working and professionalism of the emergency services.

“The incident has occurred during Drowning Prevention Week, which aims to equip everybody across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge, to make the right decisions about water safety.”

TWFRS Fire Boat pictured on the River Tyne
Northumbria Police's Marine Unit.
Drowning Prevention Week 2021 - Logo

Sergeant Suzanne Crossley leads Northumbria Police’s dedicated Marine Unit who are specially trained in diving and search techniques, covering from Berwick all the way down to Ryhope and then across to Kielder and all the waterways in-between.

Praising the father and son, she said: “Sometimes no amount of preparation can avoid an accident happening.

“In this scenario both men were experienced on the water and had come prepared and suitably attired, wearing dry suits and life jackets.

“After leaping from their jet ski, they remained in the water for some time before a full rescue was possible and I have no doubt that their specialist attire saved them from disaster in more ways than one.

“They absolutely did the right thing by coming prepared and staying calm.”

She added: “These were experienced and well prepared jet skiers and still they were not immune from accident and incident. Had they been novices or unprepared, this might not have been the straightforward rescue it was.

“I want to remind everyone that the water can be a very dangerous place and no one should ever venture out unprepared.

“The bottom line is life jackets save lives and should always be worn.”

Port of Tyne Maritime Director Harbour Master Steven Clapperton said: “The safety of river users is our highest priority, and we want the river to be enjoyed responsibly and safely by all users.

“This incident highlights the need for proper preparation, regardless of how straightforward the activity seems.

“It’s great that the individuals in this case had taken the time to make sure they had the right equipment, and that in doing that, they avoided an unfortunate incident becoming something much more serious.”

The father added: “My first thought was to get my son to safety, luckily we had dry suits on and vests on at the time or it could have been a completely different story.

“We would like to thank everyone for their help.”

The incident also included the services of HM Coastguard