Chiswick RNLI Assist In Rescue Near Putney Bridge

Twenty-five members of police, RNLI and fire officers involved

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Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat was part of a multi-agency rescue of a man taken from the water by Fulham Rail bridge. Around twenty-five officers from London Fire Brigade and the police were involved in the rescue of the man who jumped off Putney Bridge into the Thames at lunchtime on Tuesday (March 19).

London Coastguard alerted Chiswick RNLI and the Lifeboat arrived a few minutes later at 1330. There was no sign of the man close to Putney Bridge where he had been seen to jump in, and the crew quickly proceeded to Fulham rail bridge, a few hundred metres downstream, where a London Fire Brigade crew was already assisting the casualty.

The man was severely agitated and in some distress, but had managed to hold onto a heaving line thrown by the firemen.

Three RNLI crew were landed ashore where volunteer crewman Graham Hill assessed the casualty.

Shortly afterwards the HEMS air ambulance landed on the foreshore nearby. The HEMS doctor and paramedic took over the medical assessment and stabilised the casualty sufficiently for him to be moved.

The fireboat transferred the lifeboat’s basket stretcher to the foreshore as it was able to go closer in very shallow conditions. The lifeboatmen and firemen combined to transfer the casualty into the stretcher. The two crews then hauled the basket stretcher up onto the bank where the casualty was transferred into the care of the London Ambulance Service.

Helmsmen Peter Knight commented "The combined skills of the various agencies were needed to safely recover this man in difficult circumstances. The close cooperation is the result of regular contact and the multi-agency training exercises which take place on the Thames every year."

 White Watch Manager Matthew Sinclair, from Wandsworth fire station, who was in charge of the incident, says: " Fortunately he was quite close to the shore, so firefighters used ropes to rescue the man from the river. Once they’d got him onto dry land they gave him first aid and were subsequently assisted by the RNLI until the ambulance arrived.

" Crews did a fantastic job and acted extremely quickly to save this man’s life."

Two fire engines from Wandsworth, one from Fulham, and a fire rescue unit from Battersea, were on the scene. The Brigade’s fire boat was also called to the incident. Around 25 firefighters and officers were present. The Brigade says it was called at 1.22pm and the incident was over at 2.15pm.

The drama began when horrified onlookers saw the man jump from the bridge into the river.

As emergency services were called to the scene, people began tweeting in disbelief about what was happening. Around 3pm police said that the man was on his way to hospital in a stable condition.


March 20, 2013