There’s been a dramatic rescue of a 23 year old man seen in difficulties in the River Thames near Blackfriars Bridge this morning.
He was spotted by the crew of the crane barge OKTOPUS and Tower RNLI were launched and managed to save him from drowning.
The rescue was praised by Metropolitan Police River Police.
Tower lifeboat was launched at 7.37 am by HM Coastguard.
The crane barge had a person guiding the RNLI helmsman to head straight for the likely area.
On arrival a crewman on the barge was pointing downstream and the lifeboat continued in that direction. Almost immediately the helmsman spotted a Perry Buoy in the water, quickly followed by the crew spotting the person some 30m beyond the buoy.
The lifeboat was able to pull the 23 year old man out of the water.
He was conscious and alert, but very distressed.
The lifeboat immediately took him back to Lifeboat Pier where he was taken to the station medical room where the RNLI crew continued monitoring his condition and started the warming process.
The London Ambulance Service quickly arrived and the man was taken to hospital.
The RNLI say the crew of the crane barge played a key role in this rescue as they spotted the casualty, threw a Perry Buoy and called in the incident to the Coastguard.
They also kept an eye on the casualty which helped the lifeboat crew locate and pull the man safely out of the water as soon as possible.
There were no other craft on scene.
In the Helmsman’s opinion the casualty had another 30 seconds before he went under the surface, and this was a life saved.
RNLI Helmsman Keith Cima said:
This was a slick rescue made possibly by the immediate actions by the crew of the crane barge OKTOPUS, who saw the man floating past their barge off Blackfriars Bridge. These actions followed by slick action from the lifeboat crew – which included 2 volunteers – helped saved a life this morning. A few more seconds and it would have been a very different outcome for the young 23-year old man would have gone under and drowned.