Watch the dramatic moment a trapped man is rescued from under a pier in Wapping

The man is rescued by helmsman Steve King. Picture: RNLI/Tower lifeboat station

The man is rescued by helmsman Steve King. Picture: RNLI/Tower lifeboat station - Credit: RNLI/Tower lifeboat station

The dramatic moment a lifeboat crew came to the rescue of a man trapped under a pier in Wapping has been caught on camera.

The rescue attempt involved helmsman Steve King taking the unusual decision to don a wetsuit and jump in to grab the stranded man, who had become trapped within the circular wooden pier at Shadwell Basin.

When the lifeboat, from the RNLI’s Waterloo-based Tower station, arrived shortly before 2pm on Sunday, July 1, they found the man clinging on desperately and in imminent danger of drowning.

Although police were already on the scene, because of the man’s position it was impossible to get a boat close enough to rescue him.

So Steve jumped into the water, clutching a lifejacket and a throwline, and swam against the tide to reach him.

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The man was in shock and clinging to a post which he was not prepared to let go of, but Steve managed to get the rope around him and the police, along with lifeboat volunteers Robert Archibald and Adam Garland, pulled him towards the exit point of the pier.

“‘It’s very rare that we go into the water, it’s a last resort,” said Steve.

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“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.”

The man was then guided through the pier into the hands of Robert and Adam, who lifted him into the safety of the lifeboat.

He was conscious but cold and in shock, and was given oxygen as well as being warmed up.

Once the boat took him to the safety of Wapping Police Pier, the London Ambulance Service took over the man’s care.

“This call demonstrates the core principles of being an RNLI volunteer – selflessness, determination and teamwork to save life,” Steve added.

“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.”

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