Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew rescue a fox

Lifeboats News Release

At 12.27pm on Monday 3 August 2020 Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat was called to a report of a dog in the water behind Sainsbury’s jetty, downstream from Wandsworth Bridge. The crew saw a creature sitting on the lap of a kayaker between the jetty and a 20ft high river wall.

Waterlogged fox with kayaker

RNLI

Waterlogged fox with kayaker

The crew were surprised when the casualty was rather different from what they expected. When they came near they saw the waterlogged creature was a fox!

Many people were looking down from the high river wall, London Fire Brigade and the RSPCA were already in attendance but could not reach the kayaker safely.

On the rising tide RNLI helmsman James Anthony was able to manoeuvre the lifeboat into the narrow gap behind the jetty. Once alongside the kayak the crew, wearing full PPE and visors, were able to transfer the fox into the lifeboat. The firefighters managed to hand over the RSPCA’s cage and once the lifeboat crew had the bedraggled fox safely inside, the cage was handed back.

James said 'We were concerned about how to approach when we saw the ‘dog’ was actually a fox but it turned out to be the most docile casualty we’ve had to deal with. Certainly a much easier recovery than the angry cat cut off by the tide a few weeks ago.’

Since the incident the RSPCA have reported the fox is well and has been released into its 'local' area.

James added: ‘Our crews at Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat have had to deal with a number of serious casualties in the last few weeks where the images were too sensitive to show. While we don’t want to be seen as an animal rescue service, we do rescue animals to ensure that pet owners or bystanders don’t put themselves at risk by following them into the river. We are equipped to deal with these incidents quickly and safely when rescue from the water is the only option’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,700 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 210500 David_Clarke@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 33678

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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

Handover of the fox to the RSPCA

RNLI

Handover of the fox to the RSPCA

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.

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