A FISHERMAN was rescued from the sea by his skipper after falling overboard three miles off the coast at Hartlepool.

Both Hartlepool RNLI lifeboats were launched at 2.43am on Sunday by Humber Coastguard to a report of a man overboard from a 10 metre fishing vessel.

Lifeboats arrived at the fishing boat at 3am, to find the fisherman had been recovered back to the fishing boat by the skipper. Crew members from the all weather lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat were placed aboard to assess the casualty.

The fishing boat was escorted back to the Fish Quay at the Headland where Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team and an ambulance were waiting.

Hartlepool RNLI Coxswain Robbie Maiden said: "Due to the quick reaction and professionalism of the boat's skipper the crewman was recovered back to the fishing boat.

"I'm glad to say the crewman is now safely on his way to hospital. I would also like to say thank you to my volunteer crew for responding quickly to this call out which could have had a very different outcome.

"This was our fifth call out in a matter of days and once again the commitment from the crew was outstanding."

The lifeboats returned to the Ferry Road lifeboat station at 4.00am and were refuelled and made ready for service by 4.30am.