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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 20:42 GMT
Angler swept into North Sea
Amble harbour
The accident happened near Amble harbour
An angler has died after he was swept off a pier in stormy conditions and into heavy seas.

A combined helicopter and lifeboat rescue failed to save the 45-year-old man from Amble, Northumberland .

An inshore lifeboat capsized during a rescue attempt and three crew members later required hospital treatment.

The angler, who has not been named, went into the water at about 1400 GMT on Thursday in rough seas and with a force six wind blowing.

Looking from above, it would always have been tricky to get an inshore lifeboat in there

Sq Ldr Andrew Miller

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said the wave which swept the man into the sea was as high as a lighthouse at the end of the pier at Amble harbour.

Squadron Leader Andrew Miller, of RAF Boulmer, just five miles from the scene of the rescue attempt, said the man was caught in extremely choppy water between a breakwater and rocks.

This caused the waves to churn like a "washing machine," he said, as he paid tribute to the lifeboat crew's bravery.

He said: "You have to take your hats off to them, they had a go.

"Looking from above, it would always have been tricky to get an inshore lifeboat in there."

Investigation held

The pilot said a winchman took three attempts to pluck the angler from the water, by which time he was no longer conscious.

Malcolm Pritchard, lifeboat operations manager at Amble, said one of the crew members was expected to be detained overnight at Wansbeck General Hospital.

He said they were injured by large logs which were being thrown about in the seas. The men managed to swim ashore to a small beach.

Mr Pritchard said there would be an investigation into the accident.

The angler was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington where he was pronounced dead.


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See also:

23 Nov 01 | England
30 May 00 | Scotland
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