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.