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Teddington RNLI assist injured cyclist on towpath in Ham Lands nature reserve

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer crew were paged on Monday (5 June) to a cyclist who had fallen off her bike on the towpath, sustaining a potential head and hip injury.

The incident took place on the towpath where it is inaccessible by road, and Teddington RNLI were therefore tasked by HM Coastguard to assess and evacuate the casualty if necessary.

On the lifeboat's arrival the cyclist was conscious but in pain, and after assessment of her injuries it was decided the quickest method to an ambulance was by lifeboat back to Teddington RNLI Lifeboat Station opposite Teddington Lock, where she could be assessed by an awaiting ambulance crew.

Tina, the cyclist, explained: ‘Three dogs had leapt out of the bushes and collided with my back wheel and I found myself flat on my back dazed and unable to move. In seemingly no time at all I was surrounded by the kindness of strangers! One of whom had the presence of mind to dial 999 for the Coastguard, realising that where I had been felled was inaccessible to an ambulance crew.

Within minutes I heard the sound of the lifeboat siren and saw the flashing blue light through the trees alongside the river. Witnessing shock and adrenaline in an accident was clearly not new to this crew and it was at that point that I felt completely safe. After assessing my injuries (I was eventually diagnosed with a hairline fracture of the pelvis) I was carefully lifted into the boat and Jon, the helm had invited one of the women who had cared for me in the first instance, to join us.

During this part of the journey, I closed my eyes, feeling such a deep sense of gratitude toward all my rescuers. Despite being in a relatively small boat, travelling at speed, I knew that I was in the care of skilled, disciplined and well-trained people whose sole purpose for being in the RNLI wasn’t money or literally, showboating, but to rescue and care for those in distress.

If you want a superb template for how to do life well - here it is! It isn’t what happens to us that matters, so much as how we respond to it. Their response to my need was professional, efficient, compassionate and rapid. I am the grateful recipient of sacrificial living on the part of those RNLI volunteers at Teddington Lifeboat Station. With all my heart, thank you’.

Jan, volunteer lifeboat crew added ‘After only recently qualifying as lifeboat crew with Teddington RNLI this was only my second "shout". It felt good to be able to put my months of training to good use and I am glad that we were able to assist Tina, and look forward to her visiting the Lifeboat station when she is fully recovered’.

Jon, helm on the lifeboat, concluded ‘It would probably be a surprise for many people, but areas of the riverside towpath in our patch at Teddington are far easier to access by river than by land. In this case, it was great that we were able to reach the casualty so speedily, get her fully assessed and made comfortable, and then evacuate her back to the lifeboat station for a handover to London Ambulance. A good, satisfying example of the versatility of our role and of inter-emergency services collaboration!’

If you see someone in trouble in or around the River Thames, please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI Media Contacts:

For more information please telephone Gianna Saccomani, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07798 905515 or [email protected] or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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