Man suffers serious injury after dive into the Thames

Lifeboats News Release

The dangers of using the river to escape the heat was highlighted for Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew for the third time this week following a serious incident at Putney.

On Thursday evening 26 July 2018, Chiswick Lifeboat crew went to reports of a man in the water in Putney. It appeared that in the sweltering heat a man had attempted to dive into the river to cool off.

After falling more than 20ft he hit water that was only 18 inches deep and suffered serious head and spinal injuries. Working with fire and ambulance services the lifeboat crew put him onto a spine board and evacuated him to the bankside where he was handed into the care of the London Ambulance Service paramedics.

Chiswick RNLI station manager Wayne Bellamy emphasised ‘This is the third incident we have dealt with this week resulting from the hot weather. We have been sending out the message ‘Don’t use the river to cool off’.This incident shows that serious injury can occur if you underestimate the dangers of the tidal Thames, its silty water makes it impossible to gauge its depth’.

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 one 3,200 incidents and rescued over 1,620 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 21 0500 David_Clarke@rnli.org.uk
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825, paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI/David Clarke

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.

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