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Tower lifeboat crew rescues 226 from drowning in Thames

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:31 05 October 2010

Tower lifeboat crew... they saved 148 people in 12 months

Tower lifeboat crew... they saved 148 people in 12 months

LIFEBOAT crews on the Thames have rescued 226 people from drowning in the past 12 months, figures released this-morning reveal. The Tower crew was yet again the busiest RNLI station anywhere in the British Isles, launching 380 rescue missions and saving 148 members of the public in distress

By Mike Brooke

LIFEBOAT crews on the Thames have rescued 226 people from drowning in the past 12 months, figures released this-morning (Monday) reveal.

The Tower crew was yet again the busiest RNLI station anywhere in the British Isles, launching 380 rescue missions and saving 148 members of the public in distress. This was 99 more than in the previous year.

Chiswick lifeboat crew rescued 78 people, 37 more than in 2008.

Lifeboats from the four Thames stations at Tower, Chiswick, Teddington and Gravesend launched 749 missions, an increase of nearly 50 compared to the year before.

These also included 41 commercial vessels breaking down and 188 people on pleasure craft such as sailing vessels needing a hand. Other calls they answered included rescuing stranded animals, salvaging motor vehicles in the river and even removing an unexploded wartime bomb.

The official figures have been released to coincide with the RNLI charity’s biggest national fundraising day, SOS Day, this coming Friday (January 29). They highlight the need for cash to keep the service literally afloat on the tidal reaches of Britain’s busiest waterway.

RNLI Divisional Inspector Andrew Ashton said: “Once again Tower lifeboat is the busiest out of the 235 RNLI stations around the coast of Britain and Ireland.

“Thames lifeboats operate on the busiest inland waterway in the country, amid a population of nine million. It is little surprise that the volunteer crews at Tower and Chiswick have been so busy.”

SOS Day takes its name from the international mayday distress signal, Save Our Souls.’ Supporters are being encouraged to adopt the letters SOS’ to come up with themed fundraising events, like the Sponsor Our Scullers’ 24-hour rowing marathon crews are planning at Kingston on Friday.


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