RNLI London lifeboat crew rescue freezing man from River Thames at Deptford
A holidaymaker who fell into the icy waters of the River Thames in London was rescued by Tower RNLI lifeboat crew on Thursday (9 March).
The 53-year-old man was taking photographs by the river at Deptford Creek, near Greenwich, shortly after 10pm when he leaned against railings and fell into the water.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Tower lifeboat, based near Waterloo Bridge, were requested to launch by the UK Coastguard in London at 10.24pm. Launching within 60 seconds, the crew made their way to Deptford Creek to find the man in the water, very cold and in a state of shock.
Craig Burn, helm of Tower RNLI lifeboat, said: ‘When we got closer we had to put the lifeboat’s aerials and radar mast down because the tide was high, meaning there was very little clearance beneath Deptford Creek footbridge. As we approached we found the man clinging to a ledge in the water, wearing a lifejacket that had been thrown to him by police on the river bank.
‘He was very cold and in a state of shock following the fall. Because the water temperature was only 7 degrees we were concerned about the possibility of hypothermia, as he had been in the water for around ten minutes when we arrived.’
The lifeboat crew pulled the man aboard and immediately checked him over and gave him blankets to warm him up.
Craig continued: ‘He told us he was from Turkey but was visiting family in the UK. He had been trying to take a photo when he slipped and fell over the railings, plummeting into the dark water in the creek.
‘A number of family and friends were on scene and were very distressed at not being able to assist him. When we arrived they were all extremely grateful to us for helping him.’
The lifeboat crew took the man to Greenwich Pier where they were met by staff from London Ambulance Service and he was reunited with his family.
Craig added: ‘This is exactly the kind of thing the charity’s lifeboat crews train for. I was extremely proud of my fellow crew members Dave Norman, Geoff Taylor and Nick Sammons, for their professionalism and the compassion shown to this very frightened man. We were pleased to be able to help and prevent what could have been a much worse outcome.’
In addition to Tower RNLI, the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service were also in attendance
The RNLI is a charity that relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions to save lives on the River Thames in London and around the coast of the UK and Ireland. To find out more about Tower RNLI, follow their Twitter feed @TowerRNLI or visit www.rnli.org.uk
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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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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland