A RESCUE team found a depressed patient who was missing from a hospital's mental health unit.

Thomas Eltringham, 47, from near Rowlands Gill, Tyneside, was found in a stream less than a mile from Shotley Bridge Hospital, Consett, County Durham, by the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team.

Mr Eltringham, earlier described by police as being depressed and suicidal, was taken to Dryburn Hospital, Durham, suffering from hypothermia.

He went missing from the hospital's Allensford Ward at 10am on Friday.

Police called in rescue teams on Friday night after their own searches drew a blank. A rescue team from Northumberland searched Chopwell Woods a few miles away.

Teesdale and Weardale team spokesman Steve Owers said: "At 10.30am on Saturday, one of our teams found a gentleman one-third of a mile from the hospital. He was lying in a stream covered by undergrowth.

"Once we checked him out medically, and warmed him up, we got him on to the road and he was taken by ambulance to Dryburn Hospital.

"He was difficult to locate because he was covered by undergrowth, but he was not far from houses. He has been extremely lucky. We think he might have been in the stream for more than 24 hours. He is fortunate the hypothermia was not worse.''

Twenty members of the rescue team took part in the search.

A police spokesman said: "He was found suffering from exposure, but was otherwise fit and well.