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Man and woman swept off harbour by big waves and pulled out to sea as storm barrelled down on Britain are ‘lucky to be alive’ after clinging onto edge before being rescued by RNLI


  • Incident happened amid ‘pretty rough’ sea conditions at Staithes Harbour
  • Storm Ciaran is set to batter parts of Southern England and Wales this week

A man and a woman are ‘lucky to be alive’ after they were swept off a harbour and pulled out to sea during high tide. 

The dramatic incident happened at Staithes Harbour in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire at 4pm. 

An eyewitness said the pair had been fishing at the harbour when they were ‘washed off’ and pulled into the sea.

He described the sea conditions as  ‘pretty rough’ all afternoon, with a number of large waves. The two were swept away in a ‘moment’ when one wave rose above the harbour.

The witness said: ‘I noticed these two fishing on the top of the rocks. The next minute a big wave came over and I thought, they had been washed off. They have disappeared.

A man and woman are 'lucky to be alive' after being swept out of Staithes Harbour, North Yorkshire by large waves and pulled out to sea

A man and woman are ‘lucky to be alive’ after being swept out of Staithes Harbour, North Yorkshire by large waves and pulled out to sea

They were luckily able to cling on to the rails by the fingertips

They were luckily able to cling on to the rails by the fingertips

Large waves crash into the coast at Roker in Sunderland today amid strong winds

Large waves crash into the coast at Roker in Sunderland today amid strong winds

‘And I can see they have been washed off into the sea in the harbour. How they were knocked out I don’t know, they must have been thrown. They didn’t hit the rails. They ended up in the sea.

‘I don’t know how they managed to get back to the harbour. And the girl is clinging on to the rails, and hanging on by her fingertips, and the guy is holding on to her.’

Somehow, and miraculously, the couple were able to hold on by the fingertips.

The witness said: ‘The girl was hanging on by her fingertips, and the bloke had to hold onto her so he didn’t get washed off, and he has somehow pulled himself back and pulled back to the habour.’

WEDNESDAY: Rain and wind warnings for southern England and Wales and Northern Ireland

WEDNESDAY: Rain and wind warnings for southern England and Wales and Northern Ireland

The incident comes as Storm Ciaran is set to batter parts of southern England and Wales from Wednesday.

Eight severe weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office over five days from Monday, with around 60mm of rain set to fall from 6pm on Wednesday, with winds of up to 90mph on the South Coast.

There are also four rain alerts in place in Northern Ireland, including an overnight amber warning from Monday 9pm until Tuesday 9am.  

Poor weather conditions could see major disruption is some parts, with Bonfire Night fireworks displays among events likely to be cancelled.

The witness said the two were lucky to be alive. He said: ‘You’ve got to be careful. The sea is not very forgiving, these two are lucky. It’s one of those things, if they had been thrown a few more feet they wouldn’t be here now cause the sea was really rough – it was the peak of high tide.’

According to the witness, the pair were taken to the RNLI station for treatment.



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