Search

Woman saved from Thames drowning by ‘chance’ night rescue after RNLI crewman hears splash

PUBLISHED: 17:27 21 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:27 21 April 2016

Tower lifeboat 'Hurley Burley' with helmsman Craig Burn (right) with crewmen Will Ellwood and Chris Walker [photos: Nathan Williams]

Tower lifeboat 'Hurley Burley' with helmsman Craig Burn (right) with crewmen Will Ellwood and Chris Walker [photos: Nathan Williams]

Nathan Williams

A woman was saved from drowning in the Thames today in a night-time rescue after a Tower lifeboat helmsman heard a splash by chance through an open window.

RNLI helmsman Craig BurnRNLI helmsman Craig Burn

The RNLI crews are normally mobilised by London Coastguard or 999 emergency calls.

But this time it was duty helmsman Craig Burn who happened to be in the lifeboat station crewroom at 2.30am when he heard the noise.

“I looked out and saw a perfect ripple circle in the calm water and could just make out something in the darkness that looked like a black bin sack,” he said.

“I thought someone had probably thrown something into the water.”

But he took no chances and woke the rest of the charity’s lifeboat crew, including two volunteers on standby night-shift after their day’s work.

They launched the lifeboat to investigate—when Craig realised it was a woman face down in the water.

“We got her onto the lifeboat,” he added. “She wasn’t breathing and was unconscious.”

The woman was given CPR resuscitation several times when she suddenly gasped.

“It was that moment when she gasped for air that was the knife-edge between life and death,” Craig recalled. “The water was so calm—I wouldn’t have heard the splash if I hadn’t kept the window open. She was a very lucky girl.”

The woman, in her 30s, was brought back to the lifeboat station where ambulance paramedics treated her before taking her to hospital.

The RNLI’s Tower lifeboat station, the busiest in the British Isles, launched to 465 emergencies last year alone, rescuing 90 people and saving 15 lives.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser