Two lives saved on 100th call out for Tower lifeboat crew

Lifeboats News Release

Tower RNLI have responded to their 100th call out for 2019 when they launched on Wednesday evening to a woman and her dog in imminent danger of drowning.

The lifeboat crew were called into action at 6.52pm following reports of a woman and a dog in the water near the HMS Belfast. Within a minute the lifeboat was on the water and had cleared London Bridge making best speed to the reported location.

The crew spotted members of the public on the south shore waving and pointing at the river so made their way towards the embankment. On approach it was clear to all on board there was a female holding onto a dog half in a buoy. The female’s face was barely above the water and she appeared to be in a near drowning state.

The lifeboat crew manoeuvred carefully towards the female and the dog, taking into consideration a large light and post sticking 1.5 / 2 meters out from the embankment into the river, which was obstructing the lifeboat and making it more difficult to recover the casualties in the given state of tide.

It was clear to the crew that the female was struggling as she started to submerge in the water, so the crew got hands on her to keep her afloat. The dog was recovered first to allow the lifeboat to get closer to the woman for an effective recovery.

Once the crew were able to untangle the dog lead from around her hand and buoy, and combat the ebbing tide, they were able to pull the woman on board.

Casualty care was administered immediately by the lifeboat crew, who continued to monitor the casualty’s condition as they made their way to St Katherine Pier where she was handed over to the care of the Ambulance Service.

Tower Lifeboat Helm, Steve Doherty, said:

“The crew showed amazing team-working skill during this rescue, using all of their training and putting it into practice.’

‘There is no doubt this is a life saved – if we had been any later in responding, she along with her dog would have drowned.*’

* Life saved is a specific RNLI term which is decided after careful analysis of a range of criteria. A rescue is categorised as a life saved where, if it weren’t for the intervention of the RNLI, a person would most likely have died.


RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Oliver Wrynne-Simpson, Regional Media Officer, on 07795127351 or

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.