The volunteer lifeboat crew of Teddington, south west London, assembled in the early hours of Monday (18 April) morning to assist in the evacuation of a casualty from their houseboat at Eel Pie Island.
At 4:26am on the night of Monday 18 April, following a London Ambulance Service request via London Coastguard, volunteer crew from Teddington RNLI lifeboat station were called to evacuate a casualty suffering from chest pains, who was on a houseboat at Eel Pie Island, Twickenham.
Helm James Kavanagh and crew members Jon Chapman and Mark Gibbs launched in Teddington’s D-Class lifeboat, Peter Saw, within minutes. Once on scene, they came alongside the houseboat and found several ambulance personnel in attendance on the casualty onboard.
Due to the location of the houseboat, it was agreed that evacuation by land would have been difficult, time-consuming and hazardous. The casualty was stabilised and made comfortable, then assisted onto the D-Class lifeboat, with a paramedic and the ambulance crew’s equipment, for a rapid and safe transfer to an ambulance waiting on the shore in Twickenham.
Helm James Kavanagh commented: “Although this may surprise many, we have a large number of areas on our patch which are very hard to access for land-based emergency services, including many houseboats on islands only accessible by water or by footbridges.”
Jon Chapman added: 'Casualty evacuations to the ambulance service in circumstances such as those of this shout show the huge value that the speed and flexibility of response of a local lifeboat can bring to other emergency services.'
The shout was the third call-out for volunteer crew from Teddington in 12, with recovery and tow of a broken-down boat with two on board on the Sunday afternoon and a request by the police for assistance late on Sunday evening with a stand-down prior to launch.
The RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea, also operates three other lifeboat stations on the River Thames, two in London at Chiswick and Tower and one further down the river in Kent, at Gravesend.
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Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland