Dog Walker Plucked To Safety By RNLI

Lifeboat crew warn of dangerous swollen river conditions

Dog walkers have been urged not to risk their own lives to save their pets after a London lifeboat crew rescued a stranded pooch and its owner from the banks of the River Thames.

The man had been out rollerblading with his brown bull mastiff at Nine Elms, between Battersea and Vauxhall, on Sunday afternoon (February 16th), when the dog leapt over the river wall and fell into the water 10ft below.

On seeing his pet in danger, the man climbed over the wall himself and waded out into the swollen River Thames. He managed to reach his dog and pull it back to the south shore.

However, both owner and dog then found themselves trapped at the water’s edge with no way of climbing up to the footpath 10ft above them and with only two hours before the river flooded the shoreline they were stood on. 


Kevin Maynard was duty helm at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) Tower Lifeboat Station when the emergency call for help came through to the charity.

He said: "We launched immediately and reached Nine Elms within minutes. We spotted them on the exposed shoreline and saw they were in a tricky situation. They were lucky the tide wasn’t coming in or they would have found the beach they were stood on flooded quickly. 

"We took the boat up the beach and they climbed aboard. We then took them to safety at St George’s Wharf Pier. In this case the dog and its owner ended up safe and we even shook the dog’s paw, but these situations can all too easily put human lives at risk. 

"Heavy rains and strong currents have made conditions on the River Thames especially dangerous at the moment so I would urge people not to enter the water after their pets."  

The best way to help a dog that has fallen into a river is to stand on the bank at an easy place for the dog to get out and call to them so they swim towards you.   

February 18, 2014