A man sparked a dramatic rescue yesterday [Tues] after he slipped and fell into a sewer tunnel while carrying out repairs on Whitley Bay seafront.
The accident happened on the East Promenade at about 2.45pm while contractors were replacing filtration equipment in the sewage system.
One of the workers, a man in his 60s, is understood to have slipped and fallen into a 27-foot deep inspection pit leading into the sewer complex.
Fire crews used ropes to carefully pull the man to the surface through a network of pipes before lifting him through a manhole.
He was taken to North Tyneside Hospital with serious injuries. The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "At 2.50pm we received a report that a man in his 60s had fallen down an inspection pit at the East Promenade at Whitley Bay.
"Fire crews attended and the man was removed from the hole at 3.30pm. An ambulance also attended and assessed the man's injuries, which are not believe to be life threatening"
A Tyne and Wear Fire service spokesman said: "Crews from Tynemouth, Hebburn and South Shields attended East Parade in Whitley Bay. Alarm was caused by a person fallen into a sewer complex.
"The casualty had been carrying out repairs on the sewage tunnel when he slipped and fell down a nine metre deep void. Fire crews used portable lamps to illuminate the scene and located the casualty.
"He was placed on a spinal board and raised him up the void through approximately 20 metres of horizontal pipe work using rope rescue equipment including pulleys and winches.
"Fire crews then raised the casualty out of the sewer through a manhole to a waiting ambulance. He was then taken to North Tyneside Hospital with suspected lower back injuries."
* A MAN sparked a dramatic rescue after he became stranded in a sewer pipe on the banks of the River Wear.
The 29-year-old was walking along the riverbank at Fatfield, Washington, at about 10.35pm on Monday when he fell into the pipe outside the Havelock pub on Bonemill Lane.
Sunderland RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was called to the scene along with Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team to assist a team of firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire service.
Sunderland RNLI senior helmsman Paul Nicholson said: "Thankfully on this occasion the fire service were able to reach and recover the man."
The man was successfully lifted from the pipe using rope rescue equipment and taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital.