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Thames lifeboat crews launch 240 times in just 3 months

PUBLISHED: 08:00 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:55 05 October 2010

Tower E-class lifeboat on the Thames with the London Eye in the background.

Tower E-class lifeboat on the Thames with the London Eye in the background.

LIFEBOAT crews launched no fewer than 237 rescue operations on the River Thames in the summer, according to provisional figures released today (Wednesday). The Tower Lifeboat was once again the busiest anywhere in the British Isles, setting off 122 times during June, July and August alone

By Mike Brooke

LIFEBOAT crews launched no fewer than 237 rescue operations on the River Thames in the summer, according to provisional figures released today (Wednesday).

The Tower Lifeboat was once again the busiest anywhere in the British Isles, setting off 122 times during June, July and August alone.

The four Thames lifeboat stations between them, including Chiswick, Teddington and Gravesend, launched 241 times in that period, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s statistics show.

The period marks the 20th anniversary of the Marchioness disaster, in which 51 people lost their lives after the pleasure cruiser collided with the Bowbelle dredger in 1989. The Tower lifeboat took part in a remembrance ceremony on August 20, with the crew laying 51 red roses in the water.

“The river is much safer today than 20 years ago at the time of the Marchioness tragedy,” said RNLI divisional inspector Andrew Ashton.

“But these rescue statistics show the Thames can still pose a danger if the right care and precaution isn’t taken.

“The fact is that Tower lifeboat station is again the busiest across the British Isles.”

The lifeboat crews are poised to respond to emergencies on the river within 90 seconds of the alert.

Yet the RNLI remains a charity relying on public donations, which can be made online, by phone on 0800-543210, or writing to the RNLI at West Quay Road in Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ.


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