Tourists rescued in Thames drama

p30001UK-News-7-1

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Two Spanish tourists were saved from drowning by a lifeboat crew today – along with a bar worker who had tried to rescue them but ended up in difficulties himself.

The drama happened in the early hours in the Thames in central London.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said a lifeboat was launched at 1.32am to reports of people in the water near Temple Pier, on the north bank of the river.

As the boat based at nearby Tower lifeboat station arrived at the scene, the crew could see three people, aged in their 20s, clinging for their lives to the river wall, out of reach of a crowd of horrified onlookers gathered on the Embankment above.

Lifeboat station manager Kevin Maynard said: “We could hear shouting as we arrived and someone in the crowd was flashing a light into the water to guide us to the casualties.

“There were three men in the river who were trying to cling on to a bit of wall but the tide was sweeping them along. As the boat arrived on scene, one of the men lost his grip on the wall and sank below the water.

“In a panic, he then grabbed one of the other men and pulled him from the wall, with both men now struggling to stay afloat. We arrived just in time and got all three safely aboard the lifeboat.

“One of the men was suffering from hypothermia and the others were freezing cold. All three had swallowed a lot of water – they were lucky lads and could all too easily have died. We’ve chalked this up as three lives saved.”

It is thought one of the tourists had been sitting on the river wall during a night out and fell into the water.

His friend then went in to rescue him, but neither could get out. On finding themselves in a life or death situation because of the cold water and strong river currents, they started screaming for help in Spanish.

A Spanish speaking worker at a nearby bar heard their cries and dashed over. He stripped to his waist, entered the river and managed to help keep the now exhausted tourists above water, but soon found his own life in danger.

Mr Maynard added: “The bar worker helped these men by keeping them afloat but then found his own life in danger. His intentions were good, but our advice is never go into the River Thames to rescue someone. If you spot anyone in danger, call 999, ask for the Coastguard and an RNLI lifeboat will arrive within minutes.”

The men were taken back to Tower lifeboat station and handed into the care of London Ambulance Service.

The lifeboat crew captured video footage of the rescue.

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search