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by Chiswick RNLI

Man suffers serious injury after dive into the Thames

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

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 over 3,500 incidents and rescued over 1,730 people. As well as saving lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, the RNLI also plays a huge part in protecting people’s safety on some of our inland waterways including the River Thames, where it operates four lifeboat stations at Teddington, Chiswick, Waterloo Bridge (Tower Lifeboat Station) and Gravesend. Tower and Chiswick are the two busiest RNLI stations, responding to around 10% of the calls across all 238 RNLI stations in 2018. Unlike many other stations, Tower, Chiswick and Gravesend operate with a round-the-clock crew who are ready to launch within 90 seconds of an emergency call coming in. At each station, the full-time crew work alongside volunteers who come from all different 'day jobs' such as bankers, TV producers, civil servants, students and other emergency services, and give up their time to help save lives on the Thames.

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