Sunderland teenager rescued after dinghy sunk by darts

A teenage boy had to be rescued from the River Wear after his friends sank his dinghy with darts and rocks leaving him stranded off the Sunderland coast.

The 15-year-old was playing on the inflatable near Claxheugh Rock, South Hylton, when it was burst by his friends.

A crew from the RNLI rescued the teenager, who had managed to reach a partially sunken boat.

Helmsman Ian Rowan said the prank on Monday could have resulted in a death.

He said the rescue vessel was launched within six minutes of getting the 999 call from the boy's friends and three volunteers were involved in the rescue.

'Practical joke'

By the time rescuers reached the boy he was very cold. He was taken ashore and later placed into the care of police officers, Mr Rowan said.

"This incident had the potential to turn into a practical joke leading to a fatality", Mr Rowan added.

"The group not only ignored the safety advice of the water patrol officers but then succeeded in deliberately bursting the boat their friend was floating in.

"Added to this the fact that they were not wearing lifejackets, everyone was very lucky this incident did not result in a fatality."

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