Search for woman reportedly swept out to sea near Hendon beach called off

Northumbria Police has confirmed that the search for a woman reportedly swept out to sea off the coast of Sunderland has been called off.

A call was made to the emergency services just after 7pm on Thursday evening. There were concerns for the welfare of a woman on Hendon Beach.

At almost 4pm on Friday afternoon, Northumbria Police announced the search had been concluded.

"A comprehensive search has been carried out for the missing woman, supported by our partners, but sadly she has not been located," they said in a statement.

“Our search has now concluded. The woman’s family have been notified and have asked that their privacy is respected at this time.”

Yesterday afternoon, rough seas hit the region's coastline, with waves of up to 50ft breaking onto the footpaths in Seaburn.

The Coastguard as the scene on Friday morning

A man also got into difficulty in the sea off Hendon yesterday evening and was treated at the scene by paramedics.

A spokesperson for the North East Ambulance Service said: "We received a call at 7.26pm to assist with the police and fire service and the coastguard with a report of a person in the water.

"We have treated one man for hypothermia but he did not go to hospital."

Locals have spoken of how the ocean was unusually rough yesterday evening when the search and rescue operation was launched.

The sea was rough last night and choppy conditions have continued throughout Friday morning and afternoon.

"Water was really bad, waves," a local told ITV News Tyne Tees.

"I reckon there was about three lifeboats out. I think there was two to three helicopters. I'm not sure. One of them was a police helicopter and the other one was RNLI, but they were searching up and down, up and down."

"I seen a helicopter going backwards and forwards and an RNLI boat going backwards and forwards, you know what I mean?"

Graeme Moan and his dog went out last night searching for the woman, checking the rocks and South Hendon Beach and continuing the search this morning.

"The helicopter was our and I'm pretty sure there was a boat out, but with it being dark, you can hear a boat, but you can't more or less see it," he said.

"There was about six people down who are local and I helped them. We've walked the beach up and down, which I've done more or less all night and I went with my binoculars every hundred yards on the beach.

At least three people have lost their lives after being washed away at the location in recent years.

In 2014, Alex Hardy died off the coast of Hendon while trying to save his dog from drowning at the age of just 32.

And in 2008, 36-year-old Anthony Gilby lost his life after getting into difficulty in the sea in the same area. He was pulled from the ocean by an RAF helicopter crew but was later pronounced dead at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Two years earlier, in 2006, Mark Lanton, who was just 14, was washed out to sea from the promenade by rough breaking waves while he played with friends.

"My cousin was down there when it happened," a resident said about Thursday's disappearance.

"I went down shortly after the incident because I heard the helicopters.

"When I got there, she had been in the water for about 45 minutes. There was police, ambulances and fire engines.

"There's always a lot of kids down there, there was loads of them when I got there last night."