Five people and a dog rescued minutes before boats sinks into Thames at Canary Wharf

Four men, a woman, and a dog were rescued from the Thames near Canary Wharf just minutes before a narrow boat sank “like a torpedo.”

A crew from Thames RIB Experience, offering white-knuckle rides in high powered boats, happened to be passing when they spotted the boat trying to cross the river between Canary Wharf Pier, near Westferry Road, and Hilton Docklands Pier, near Rotherhithe Street last Friday.

The company’s director Charlotte McGlinchey explained: “Our skipper Mark Jones spotted people tipping water out with a bucket from a barge.

“So he went over to the boat and called the emergency rescue service. He helped a man step onto our boat from the barge.

“Police then arrived and the rest of the people jumped into the water as the boat was going to sink.

“Mark said the boat then went down like a torpedo in less than five minutes.

“Our crew retrieved another person by pulling them from the water and onto our boat while the police pulled the others out, along with a dog.”

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She added that the people were very shaken and skipper’s mate Charlie Coutts gave them coats to keep them warm.

“It’s the fifth person Mark has rescued from the Thames in three months,” she said.

“People don’t realise how dangerous the river is because of the tides. We are very proud of the crew.”

A police spokesman confirmed they were called at 5.27pm.

He said: “Officers from the Marine Policing Unit arrived within two minutes, by which time the narrow boat had started to sink.

“The vessel sank completely just minutes later.

“All five people, including the woman who owns the boat, were taken to an east London hospital as a precaution and were subsequently discharged.”

The dog, named Gus, was also uninjured.


Inspector Tania Martin, of the MPS Marine Policing Unit, said: “The five people, not wearing lifejackets, were weighed down with shoes and clothing and were in shock from the cold water and a vessel sinking.

“What appeared to be a relatively safe hop across the river between marinas turned into a potentially life-threatening situation in a matter of seconds.”