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At 01.43am on Monday 1st May Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat came to the resuce of a man who had called 999 and said that he was in the river at a bridge near to Mortlake Cemetery.

The Lifeboat proceeded to Chiswick Bridge, arriving at 01.48. After a brief search the crew found an man in the mud, half submerged in water on the north shore about 50m upstream of the bridge and the tide was just beginning to flood.

Crewman Billy Reid entered the water to assess the casualty who was conscious but unresponsive. Shore-based Police were at the bridge but were unable to attend the scene due to the steep banks and the mud, so Helmsman Neil Roberts also entered the water. The two crew carried the casualty up onto the foreshore and administered oxygen. He was then secured in the basket stretcher and transferred into the lifeboat. The lifeboat crew requested an ambulance to rendezvous at Chiswick Pier.

During the short journey back to Chiswick Pier the man stopped breathing although he still had a pulse. The crew revived him and at 02.14, he was transferred to the care of the London Ambulance Service who took him to Charing Cross Hospital. The lifeboat was back on service by 02.30.

Helmsman Neil Roberts said “It was a text book operation; the crew used all their training in boat handling, communications and first aid to carry out a swift and effective service”. It is understood that despite his ordeal the man was discharged from hospital later on mayday.

The RNLI has 233 lifeboat stations including four on the Thames. Chiswick RNLI lifeboat became operational on the 2nd January 2002. Since then it has responded to 903 emergency calls. The four Thames lifeboats together have responded to over 3000 calls. The RNLI is entirely supported by voluntary contributions.


May 2, 2006