Illustrating how essential the search and rescue service is for Thames
Five calls on Sunday 4 July started before dawn with a call to Putney where a man had fallen onto the foreshore. Suspecting a punctured lung the lifeboat crew helped the ambulance paramedics transfer him from the river into their ambulance.
The next incident was a call to assist a capsized dinghy at 13:30, followed by a call at 15:30 to 2 further capsizes in Chelsea where the Lifeboat recovered four people from the water, helped them get warm and towed two dinghies back to their base.
At 18:52 the Coastguard asked Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat to investigate reports of people in the water at Chelsea harbour. On arrival the crew found two men in the river trying to deal with a power boat that had run out of fuel. The two men and three passengers were all taken on board the lifeboat which then towed the vessel back to Cheyne Walk.
There was no peace for the night shift who were called at 21:30 to search for a man who had been seen jumping off Putney Bridge. After a search by the Lifeboat the shore police found the man in question back in the pub!
On Monday the crew were busy again. At 15:04 the lifeboat attended a passenger vessel aground at Strand on the Green. The vessel managed to float off as the tide turned but the party goers on board were delighted to see the lifeboat in attendance and gave the crew a great cheer. A couple of hours later a woman was picked up from Chiswick Eyot after being stranded by the rising tide.
The night shift were called to a potentially grave incident at Wandsworth Bridge where a woman had gone into the water from a party boat. Another passenger had dived in to help her and the boat’s crew had managed to recover them. The Lifeboat crew went on the boat to assess the condition of the two waterlogged passengers. The woman, who had been struggling in the water, was very cold and had swallowed water. The Lifeboat Crew gave the woman oxygen from the lifeboat’s first aid kit and wrapped her in blankets to warm her up. She was transferred to the care of the London Ambulance Service at Putney Pier.
The day shift was back in action first thing on Tuesday. They were called to reports of a capsized double scull near Hammersmith. What appeared to be a slim boom behind boats at Rutland moorings turned out to be part of the upturned scull. The two rowers were hardly visible clinging onto the stern of a narrow boat to stop themselves being swept under by the strengthening tide. Lifeboat Crewman Glen Munroe went aboard the narrow boat and from there was able to pull both oarsmen out of the water. Glen commented “The two men were stuck in the water amongst the moored boats; had they lost their grip they would have been swept underneath the moorings with a serious risk of being snagged on lines or propellers.”
Station Manager Wayne Bellamy said, “These busy couple of days illustrate the wide variety of incidents we have to deal with and how essential it is to have the RNLI Lifeboat’s emergency search and rescue service on the tidal Thames.”
July 7, 2010