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River Thames search & rescue exercise Operation Mudlark marked a huge success

Lifeboats News Release

On Thursday 8 June at 11am a call was made to HM Coastguard to trigger the start of multi-agency mud rescue known as Operation Mudlark.

Senior Maritime Operations Officer Paul Whitehead at HM Coastguard said, ‘The first of a number of live search & rescue exercises took place today at Erith. Exercise Mudlark proved a valuable opportunity for River Thames rescue assets to test their response to a mud rescue scenario following a person entering the water from Erith Deep Water Pier.’

‘The team consisted of personnel from Gravesend RNLI, London Fire Brigade & Metropolitan Police Service Marine Units, HM Coastguard London and the National Police Air Service London.’

‘All those involved may be employed by different organisations but are all very much of the mind-set of one team for one purpose, and that is making London’s River Thames a safer place for all.’

‘All agencies came away from today’s exercise with some lessons learnt or skills honed as well as strengthening the team bond.’

RNLI Thames Commander Liam Sidders added, ‘A huge thank you to all agencies and volunteers who made today's exercise successful. It was really positive to have such an insight into working together to achieve the same outcome and using all the necessary rescue techniques to good effect. A special thank you to Paul Whitehead and John Fletcher for their attendance and input into the exercise.’

RNLI/Ashley Bard

Gravesend RNLI's Olive Laura Deare II with LFB ERRINGTON

RNLI/Ashley Bard

LFB ERRINGTON and Police Marine 3 arriving on scene

RNLI/Ashley Bard

Gravesend RNLI Atlantic 85 and Police Marine 3

RNLI/Ashley Bard

London Fire Brigade retrieving from mud before passing to Gravesend RNLI volunteers for casualty care

RNLI/Ashley Bard

National Police Air Service at Erith

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.

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