Fluffy multi-agency rescue: two Chiswick RNLI volunteers save trapped goslings
Saturday, 26 March, two RNLI crew members from Chiswick Lifeboat Station rescued four newly hatched Egyptian geese stuck on a barge on the River Thames. With the help of The Swan Sanctuary, the RNLI volunteers carried an out of hours operation and bought the abandoned goslings to safety.
On Friday, 25 March, Holly Walters was out on a crew exercise on the River Thames when she noticed a baby bird waddling across the deck of a Port of London Authority (PLA) barge near Putney. On closer inspection, our volunteer found that three other goslings were trapped in the vessel's cargo, cheeping with no safe route out or help from their parents.
With no mother goose in sight, Holly alerted the crew of a Port London Authority (PLA) boat nearby, who said they would keep an eye on the goslings, and contacted the Swan Sanctuary charity in south west London to request their support. The following day, at noon, the RNLI volunteer teamed up with Chiswick crew member Tim Hallac and a vet from the Swan Sanctuary and came back to free the trapped goslings.
Holly Walters, Chiswick RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew member, said: 'It is testament to the caring nature of the volunteers of Chiswick Crew and others that we managed to help these lovely little fellas. When there is great coordination amongst organisations seeking to protect our river and all those creatures (big and small) that live and thrive on it, wonderful things can be achieved!'
During the operation, the goslings scattered around the cargo, finding the most uncommon corners and hiding places to stay away from those who came to their rescue. Finally, after half an hour, the vet carefully collected the tiny geese in a box and transported them to the Swan Sanctuary for a check up. Because their parents had abandoned them, the Swan Sanctuary put the goslings in their crèche in Shepperton, where they will stay with other baby birds until they are old enough to be placed on a lake.
Tim Hallac, Chiswick RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew member, said: 'As soon as I found out about the abandoned tykes, the least I could do was to help Holly and Sally from The Swan Sanctuary get safely to them. After a little reluctance on their part, the animals were helped off the barge and into the caring hands of people who will make sure they receive the best care and treatment.'
It is a surprising out of hours recovery for RNLI Chiswick Lifeboat volunteers. Nature is unpredictable, and so are the rescues that our lovely volunteers carry out. They are on duty 24/7, 365 days of the year. Without their help and the care of the Swan Sanctuary, the goslings would not have survived because they were not old enough to fly away.
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. In 2021, Chiswick RNLI had 222 launches, helped 144 people and saved 1 life.
Notes to editors
- To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:
- Videos of the trapped goslings can be viewed at:
- Photos of the rescued goslings can be viewed at:
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Julie Rainey, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 07827 358256 or email [email protected] or Paul Dunt, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 0778 5296252 or email [email protected] Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].
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.
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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries