At 3.04pm on Wednesday 15 August 2018 Chiswick RNLI lifeboat was launched to investigate after passers-by had seen a man in the water being swept under the PLA driftwood barge in Corney Reach. They had not seen him surface again.
The barge is only a few hundred metres from the lifeboat’s mooring at Chiswick Pier so the crew arrived within a minute. They carried out an extensive search around the barge and a houseboat moored alongside.
Soon after, the Marine Police and the Port of London Authority launch arrived and with an incoming tide searched the river towards Chiswick Bridge. The London Ambulance Service paramedics arrived at Chiswick Pier and searched around the pontoons and moored vessels. A police helicopter also carried out a search along the river using its thermal imaging camera.
Despite all these efforts the man has not been found. London Coastguard has requested Chiswick RNLI crews continue the search today (Thursday).
RNLI helmsman Andy Mayo said, ‘This incident shows how dangerous the tidal Thames can be. The current can be very swift and catch people out. The exact circumstances are not clear and it is not appropriate to speculate at this time’.