26th August 1989 Ian Readman, the Honorary Secretary
of the Redcar Lifeboat station monitored a radio message that
the fishing vessel Gang Warily had fouled her nets and was being
driven ashore under Huntcliff cliffs. Contacting Tyne Tees Coastguard
he asked them to activate the pagers for the Redcar lifeboat,
and at 2051 the Atlantic 21 Lord Brotherton,
then on relief duty at Redcar, was launched.
lifeboat encountered a NE Force 6 to 7 wind with heavy driving
rain and poor visibility. Once clear of the shelter close inshore
the Atlantic met large confused and breaking seas which frequently
filled the boat and made constant attention to the helm and
little could be seen from the Atlantic 21 in the driving rain
and spray until, three quarters of a mile from the casualty,
the blue flashing light of the coastguard's LandRover could
be seen on the cliff top, marking the position of the casualty
at the base of the cliffs below.
The Atlantic came as close as she dared without entering the
breaking seas, and by the light of parachute flares the crew
could see the fishing vessel aground on rocks under the sheer
300ft cliffs. The rocks cover at high water and there was no
way for survivors to climb the cliffs. With the strong wind
from the sea and breaking seas over a large area there was no
direct way to the casualty, so Helmsman Thompson anchored
and veered down to the fishing boat.
lifeboat's searchlight picked out a survivor on the rocks, and
it was as obvious that help had to come from seaward, and that
the rescue had to be completed before the tide covered the rocks.
It was impossible to go closer than 120ft from the casualty
so Peter Hodge volunteered to swim ashore with a line.