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RNLI rescue Polish tourists trapped by rising river tide near Tower Bridge

Two Polish tourists rescued from rising tide on River Thames bank near Tower Bridge. Image: RNLI

Two Polish tourists rescued from rising tide on River Thames bank near Tower Bridge. Image: RNLI

Two Polish tourists have been ‘plucked to safety’ by an RNLI London lifeboat crew after they were cut off by the rising tide along the River Thames in central London.

The incident has prompted a safety warning from the lifeboat charity.

The tourists, a man and a women in their twenties, had been walking along the exposed shoreline at Butlers Wharf on the north bank of the river near Tower Bridge, when the fast rising tide cut off their only route back to the footpath above.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) Tower lifeboat crew launched into action at around 3pm on Saturday 23rd May following a 999 call for help to the Coastguard.

Stan Todd, RNLI lifeboat helmsman, said:

When we arrived we could see the two standing on the 3ft of shore that was left exposed. It would not have been long before the area they were standing was completely covered by water.

I think they were shocked at how fast the tide had risen and cut off their way back up to the Thames path above. We got them onboard the lifeboat, gave them lifejackets and dropped them off at Tower pier.

Last month, London’s Chiswick lifeboat crew helped pluck 60 people to safety after they became cut off by the tide while watching the university boat race along the foreshore of the River Thames.

Steve King, who is also an RNLI helmsman at Tower lifeboat station, said:

From time to time we do get called out to people cut off by the tide along the River Thames in London, particularly in the nice weather when people walk along the foreshore. The problem is they don’t realise how fast the water rises and it’s all too easy to get caught out.

We would urge everyone to take extra care when spending time by the river, check tide times and always be aware of what the tide is doing around you. If you do find yourself in danger or see someone else in need of rescue, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard who will request the launch of an RNLI lifeboat.

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