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Gravesend RNLI dove in to avian rescue to save a pigeon from the River Thames

Lifeboats News Release

The lifeboat crew spotted the pigeon in distress and being pestered by gulls in the cold water of the River Thames.

The crew retrieved the pigeon while they were out on exercise, and took it to the safety of a nearby boat where it could dry off and recover.

Gravesend lifeboat crew member John Robinson took part in the pigeon rescue and said, ‘The RNLI cannot be pigeon-holed as a charity which only saves human lives. We do our best to save all lives at sea and on the River Thames, whether that is a human or animal life.

The RNLI’s advice is never to try and rescue animals in distress in the water yourself. This can be dangerous, or fatal. If you see someone - human or animal - in trouble, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.’

In fact, this is not station’s first avian rescue, with Gravesend lifeboat station crew having featured on the 2022 series 7 of Saving Lives at Sea, rescuing an injured swan.

The RNLI even released a book about animal rescues: Saved From the Waves. The book is a collection of stories of animal rescues by the RNLI, ranging from cats and dogs to a walrus. Saved from the Waves is available to buy from the RNLI online shop:

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact:

Helena Lane, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Gravesend RNLI email [email protected]

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (London and South East), on 02076 207 425 or 07785 296 252, or email [email protected]

Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager (South East), on 07827 358 256 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected]

RNLI/Helena Lane

The RNLI collection of animal rescue stories, Saved from the Waves, pictured alongside the Finley RNLI Lifeboat Crew teddy bear.

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

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.