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On 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.

The 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 throttles essential.

Very 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.

The 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.

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Gang Warily