At 3.25pm on Wednesday 10 August 2016 London Coastguard asked Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew to evacuate 11 passengers from the passenger boat ‘Cockney Sparrow’ which had broken down in Barnes.
A few minutes after launching, the lifeboat vrew arrived to find the Cockney Sparrow safely anchored in the centre of the navigation channel downstream from Barnes Railway Bridge.
The crew helped the 11 passengers into the lifeboat and took them to Chiswick Pier, half a mile away. The lifeboat then returned to tow the Cockney Sparrow back to Chiswick Pier where it awaited a commercial tug.
RNLI Helmsman Andy Mayo commented ‘As the vessel had anchored, the passengers were in no immediate danger, but we were able to take them off quickly to safety on the shore so that they weren’t stranded for several hours until a commercial tug could reach them. By towing the vessel to a mooring were also able to remove a potential hazard to navigation.
The Cockney Sparrow is one of four passenger boats running a regular summer service from Westminster to Hampton Court via Kew and Richmond. It was built at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham in 1976.