A woman who tripped and fell from her boat into Hartlepool Marina was "extremely lucky" to survive after she was plucked from the sea by rescuers in wintry conditions, the coastguard has said.
Two passing teenagers raised the alarm after hearing her cries for help on Tuesday evening at the marina.
The lock keeper and an RNLI crew were quickly on the scene to help pull the woman, in her mid-50s, out of the North Sea; by then she had spent more than 20 minutes in the water.
The Humber Coastguard, which co-ordinated the response, said that she was not wearing a lifejacket when she fell in.
– Mike Puplett, watch manager at Humber Coastguard
"After over 20 minutes in the water with no lifejacket this woman is extremely lucky to be alive.
It's easy to feel that you are relatively safe when your vessel is alongside but as we can see from this incident accidents can and do happen.
Particular care needs to be taken when it's dark and you are on your own. A lifejacket is your lifesaver, particularly with air and water temperatures at only a few degrees."
– Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI operations manager
"She had been walking from her boat going ashore when she tripped on the pontoon and fell into the water.
She was taken to the University Hospital of Hartlepool by ambulance, suffering from the effects of the cold water.
The two lads did a great job in getting help fast and but for their prompt actions things might not have turned out as they did."