Dramatic weekend for Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat crews
The value of having the RNLI dedicated search and rescue service on the Thames was shown again this weekend with a sequence of serious incidents.
On Saturday morning (28 October) the Chiswick RNLI lifeboat was called to a report of a rowing coach who had collapsed in his vessel near Kew Bridge.
When the crew arrived, the London Ambulance Service paramedics were already dealing with the casualty after the young rowers he was coaching had helped bring the coach’s vessel to shore.
The young rowers were very cold and at least one had been into the water. They were taken on board the lifeboat, given blankets and taken back to their rowing club.
The second shout was also to Kew Bridge where there was a concern that a person in distress might end up in the river. The UK Coastguard had called Chiswick lifeboat in case this occurred. Happily on this occasion the police on the bridge were able prevent this happening.
The third shout came in the afternoon to four veteran rowers whose boat had been holed in Syon Reach and was in danger of sinking. All four were taken on board the lifeboat along with their craft and taken back to their base.
On Sunday afternoon the crew had some light relief when they spotted a dolphin in Corney Reach making its way downstream. The sighting attracted a lot of attention from passers-by, one of whom took a video that was shown on the BBC London breakfast news on Monday.
The lifeboat crew have seen dolphins, porpoises and seals in this part of the Thames from time to time including a seal who lived for nearly a year near Chiswick Pier.
An RNLI spokesman commented: ‘At the start of a pleasant autumn morning with light winds It promised to be a quiet day. This weekend showed how incidents can develop unpredictably. The rapid response to a varied series of incidents again showed the value of having the RNLI 24/7 dedicated search and rescue service on the Thames. We encourage anyone seeing someone in difficulties in the river to call 999’
Chiswick RNLI lifeboat is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland; since starting service in 2002, the lifeboat has attended more than 3,000 incidents and rescued more than 1,600 people.
RNLI media contacts
- David Clarke, Chiswick Lifeboat Station Press Officer (07951) 210500 firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252, email@example.com
▪ For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland
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 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.