Dramatic footage shows the moment an RNLI crewman made the “rare” decision to jump into the River Thames to save a man from drowning.
Tower Bridge RNLI crew was called out to rescue a man seen clinging to a wooden pier at Shadwell Basin, in Wapping, shortly before 2pm on July 1.
Because of the man’s position within the pier, neither a police boat nor lifeboat were able to reach the man who was visibly tiring and scared and reluctant to let go of the structure.
With the man in imminent danger of drowning, helmsman Steve King made the “highly unusual” decision to jump into the river and battle against the tide to grab hold of him and pull him to safety.
The man was conscious when he was pulled from the water but cold and in shock and there were concerns he may also be suffering from hypothermia after being in the water for some time.
He was taken to safety at Wapping Police Pier where a London Ambulance Service crew was waiting for him.
Helmsman Steve, who jumped into the water to rescue the man, said he “had to go in”.
“It’s very rare that we go into the water, it’s a last resort,” he said. “We couldn’t get a boat in there, no-one else could get in so we had to go in.
“I didn’t know what was in there and I wasn’t able to touch the bottom.”
“This call demonstrates the core principles of being an RNLI volunteer – Selflessness, determination and teamwork to save life.
“This gentleman would not have survived due to his location and clinical state had the lifeboat crew not have acted in the swift manor they had done so.”