Tourists saved from Thames drowning in RNLI Tower lifeboat night recue

PUBLISHED: 16:57 18 March 2015 | UPDATED: 17:05 18 March 2015

Moment when Spanish tourist, arrowed, is pulled from Thames by RNLI life crew [picture from RNLI onboard camera]

Moment when Spanish tourist, arrowed, is pulled from Thames by RNLI life crew [picture from RNLI onboard camera]


Two Spanish tourists have been saved from drowning in the Thames by the RNLI’s Tower lifeboat crew, along with a bar-worker who tried to rescue them but got into danger himself.

The rescue crew was launched 1.32am yesterday following reports of people in the water near Temple Pier, on the north bank.

Three men, all in their 20s, were spotted clinging for their lives to the Embankment wall, out of reach of a crowd of horrified onlookers above.

“We could hear shouting as we arrived and someone in the crowd was flashing a light into the water to guide us,” Tower lifeboat station manager Kevin Maynard said.

“The three in the river were trying to cling onto the wall—but the tide was sweeping them along.

“One man lost his grip and grabbed one of the others in panic and pulled him from the wall. Both were struggling to stay afloat.

“We arrived just in time and got all three safely aboard the lifeboat.”

One of the men was suffering from hypothermia and the others were freezing cold.

“They were lucky—they could have easily died,” Kevin added. “We’ve chalked this up as three lives saved.”

One of the tourists had been sitting on the Embankment wall during a night out when he fell into the water. His friend jumped in to rescue him, but neither could get back out due to the cold and strong river currents.

They started screaming for help in Spanish.

By luck, a Spanish-speaking worker at a nearby bar heard them and dashed over. He stripped to his waist, jumped in and managed to help prevent the now-exhausted tourists sinking in the water, despite his own life put in danger.

The bar worker has been praised by the RNLI charity for his rescue attempt. His intentions were good, but the RNLI advice is “never go into the river”—call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

The three men were taken back to Tower lifeboat station to a waiting ambulance for medical treatment, following their ordeal.

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