Man Saved From Freezing to Death by Eagle-Eyed Lifeboat Crew
RNLI's Chiswick team spot man on pontoon near Putney Bridge
A man in danger of freezing to death was saved by crew from the RNLI’s Chiswick lifeboat station after he found himself in the biting cold waters of the River Thames.
He was spotted in the river near Putney Bridge on Saturday 14 November, sparking a 999 call to the Coastguard. The RNLI lifeboat launched at 7.42am and the crew began a search of the area. They were then joined by the Met Police boat and police officers on the river banks.
As the charity’s lifeboat made a sweep of the south bank of the Thames, the crew spotted a man lying motionless on a pontoon at Hurlingham Yacht Club.
Lifeboat approaching pontoon during rescue
Gary Tiller, RNLI lifeboat helmsman, said: ‘We were searching the water around Fulham railway bridge when we spotted him lying on a pontoon next to the river bank. He was partially hidden from view so it was a good spot.
‘He was lying on his back, soaking wet and freezing cold. He’d obviously managed to climb out of the river and onto the pontoon, but when we reached him the cold had taken effect and he could barely move a muscle.’
Gary added: ‘He was in danger of freezing to death. He was hypothermic and beyond the shivering stage. If we hadn’t found him when we did, this would have turned into a life and death situation very quickly. Thankfully we found him in time.’
The RNLI crew gave first aid before paramedics from London Ambulance Service arrived to take care of him.
Video of the search and rescue
If you spot anyone in trouble in the River Thames, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Chiswick RNLI lifeboat is the second busiest in the UK and Republic of Ireland; since starting service in 2002, the crews have attended over 2,400 incidents and rescued over 1,200 people.
November 18, 2014