Videos and information about some of our recent rescues:

13th October 2018 VIDEO: Tower lifeboat rescue male in water culvert trying to retrieve dropped personal belongings:

1st July 2018 VIDEO : Tower lifeboat rescues man trapped under pier:

24.02.19: Air Ambulance called for person in water and an unconscious boy suffered allergic reaction


At 12:16 on 24th February the crew were called to a person in the water at Westminster Bridge. The lifeboat arrived on scene to find that the person had initially been grabbed by a passing former Army commando canoeist, who had heard screams of terror as the man fell into the water and held onto him until the police were on scene and took him onto their boat. The man was quite badly injured with, amongst other things, an open fracture of one arm and a fracture of the other. There was a suggestion that he was trying to take a photograph on the bridge when he fell, but this was not confirmed and he was treated on the police boat as they made their way to Lifeboat Pier.  The London Ambulance Service (LAS) arrived on scene and requested back up from the HART team due to the casualty still being on board the police boat. Once they arrived they were concerned enough about the casualty’s condition that they requested the air ambulance, which then landed in Embankment Gardens to transport the man to hospital.

Later the same day at 16:38, the boat was tasked to a 15 year old boy who was unconscious at Embankment Pier. On arrival the crew found the boy slumped against the brow of the pier with his family. He was conscious, but clearly in discomfort. His mother explained that about an hour before he had eaten cashew nuts for the first time. Shortly after he became ill having diarrhoea, sickness, a sore throat that felt constricted and became unresponsive with a rash developing. At this time, he had a cap refill of three and was clammy with a slow breathing rate. Oxygen was administered and he was also given two puffs of salbutamol. He soon started to become more responsive and his cap refill came down to one before LAS arrived on scene to take him to hospital.


16.02.19: Missing person search and call out to unresponsive woman


At 20:08 on 16th February, we were called to a possible person in the water between Tower and Greenwich after it was suspected that a passenger had either fallen or jumped from the Aurora Clipper. The boat was on scene within four minutes of being tasked and started a hasty search before being joined by police boats and a helicopter. The crew of the Clipper reviewed their CCTV footage and confirmed that a male had jumped overboard as the boat was passing Wapping. Despite an extensive search, no trace of the man was found. As the search was coming to an end at 2112,  the lifeboat was diverted to a female reported unconscious onboard the Salient at Crown Pier. The lifeboat arrived on scene and the crew found that the woman was not on the boat, but was in fact lying against the railings on the pier. She was found to be unresponsive and unable to maintain her airway and so was treated appropriately and a request for an ambulance was made. Her friends told the crew that she was only 17, had been drinking alcohol and had taken an unknown quantity of LSD. She was given free flow oxygen and her airway was maintained whilst her other vital signs were monitored. After about four minutes, she started to gag so the airway was removed and the casualty vomited. Shortly after, LAS arrived on scene and once the girl was in an ambulance, the lifeboat returned to station.


14.02.19: Lovebirds on Valentine’s Day

Love was in the air on 14th February after the crew pulled a bird out the river. The Harris’s Hawk had flown away from its owner and had ended up struggling in the river close to Embankment Pier. The crew recovered it into the boat and took it back to Lifeboat Pier where he was dried out in the casualty care room. The RSPCA were contacted, but shortly after a man was searching along the embankment for the bird as it had a tracking device fitted and the pair were finally reunited.  


11.02.19: A search and rescue by night involving police, fire boat and helicopter 


The night shift on 11th February involved the crew being called to a person in the water at Blackfriars Bridge. Despite a search involving three police boats, a fire boat, the lifeboat and a police helicopter, no trace was found. Subsequent information led the police to believe that there may not have been anyone in the water in the first place. However there was somebody in the river later on that shift at 0518. A woman had jumped from the Golden Jubilee Walkway and was recovered close to the bow of the Tattershall Castle. The woman was barely keeping herself afloat and was understandably extremely cold once we got her into the lifeboat. She was taken back to Lifeboat Pier where she was handed over to London Ambulance Service (LAS) to be taken to hospital.



17.01.19: High-speed rib collision in Greenwich leaving multiple (minor) injuries


At 1743 on 17th January, the crew were called after a RIB (Rigid-Inflatable Boat) on a high speed trip collided with one of the buoys at Greenwich Ship Tier. The RIB was travelling at 30 knots (approx 34mph) at the time and all passengers and crew on board received injuries. When the lifeboat arrived on scene, the RIB had already been put alongside Greenwich Pier and the injured (who thankfully were all walking wounded) had made their way off the pier and were sheltering from the bitter cold in a restaurant at the top of the brow. Injuries included a laceration across the forehead, broken noses, cut mouths and an ankle injury. The casualties were all triaged and then treated accordingly, all while the police and PLA (Port of London Authority) were trying to collect statements and evidence. After a short while the ambulances started to arrive and transported the injured to hospital. Here is a link to the BBC story: incident.


11.01.19: 2:30am rescue thanks to the sighting by a member of the public

In the early hours of 11th January, we launched to a woman in the water outside Tate Modern. They arrived on scene to find the woman holding onto a life-ring that had been thrown from the embankment. They recovered her into the lifeboat before taking her back to Lifeboat Pier to await LAS. It is thought that the woman had entered the water from the embankment wall and, luckily, she was spotted by a member of the public who happened to be in the area at 0230.


05.01.19: Commuter casualty on board a Clipper boat 

The next day the crew were called to the Monsoon Clipper after a female had collapsed on board at 0935. The lifeboat made its way to Tower Pier where the crew went aboard to treat the casualty. LAS arrived on scene shortly after and the two crews worked to reassure woman whilst they investigated why she had fainted. Once the woman had left with LAS, the lifeboat returned to station.


04.01.19: Crew gave first aid to person in water by HMS Belfast


On 4th January 2019 at 2239, the crew were called to a person in the water close to HMS Belfast. The man was recovered by officers on board a police boat, and two of our crew went on board to give casualty care as they transported the person back to Lifeboat Pier to await London Ambulance Service (LAS).


22.07.18 : Life saved near London Eye after man refused all help:

At 20.00 on 22nd July, crew were called to a person in the water at the London Eye and we arrived on scene to find that the man was in the river under the pontoon close to the river wall. Some excellent helming got the boat inside the booms, and we collapsed the radar and aerials down and just managed to fit under the brow.


The man refused to take a line from a throw bag and was repeatedly attempting to go down under the water. The lifeboat got in in as close as possible and we were able to grab part of the man’s clothing and pull him towards the boat. The crew recovered him into the boat and took him back to Lifeboat Pier. This job was a life saved as the man had refused all help, was only just afloat when we arrived and no other vessel in the area would have been able to get into the position the crew put the lifeboat in.


08.07.18 : A drunk and disorderly rescued by lifeboat and police:

Sunday 8th July, crew were called to a person in the water near Millennium Footbridge. The lifeboat arrived on scene to find that the person was holding onto a small rowing boat that just happened to be passing. He was transferred over to the lifeboat crew but resisted being recovered into the boat. He was clearly very drunk and insisted that he was going back to the shore. Rather than let him swim, it was decided that the lifeboat would make its way slowly to the shore. The man continued to be abusive and aggressive, as was his friend who was waiting for him on the shore. The lifeboat remained on scene until the police officers who had arrived removed them from the area.


23.06.18 : Man saved after 5-hour long night rescue


The night shift of 23rd June the crew were launched on service three times. The first of these was to a person threatening to jump from an old pier near the North Woolwich Ferry Terminal. The lifeboat arrived on scene and started trying to talk to the man, before the police arrived and try to engage with him. Due to the difficulty in extracting the man back along the walk ways onto the jetty, the man was eventually taken onto the lifeboat before being put ashore, five hours after the lifeboat first arrived on scene.



05.06.18: A land based rescue for a cyclist


On 5th June, a member of the Tower crew was leaving the pier after a day shift when he saw that a cyclist had been injured just the other side of Waterloo Bridge. He rang the station and a couple more of the crew walked up the top with the spare casualty care kit. When they reached the injured man, he had an open fracture on one of his arms, as well as a few other injuries and so was immobilised and treated. Eventually an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.


The then casualty has since emailed to say that he had a five hour operation to put steel plates and pins in his arm and he feels that the prompt action of the lifeboat crew means that he still has his arm. He lives in Yorkshire but is going to come to the station the next time he is in London to thank those who helped him in person.



July 2018: Soaring temperatures have meant more calls for the lifeboat


With June and July’s hotter than average weather this year, we launched to people in need of medical attention on a Class V passenger vessel 19 times. These included a 3 year old child hitting their head on a wooden bench as he fell, people suffering from heatstroke, an epileptic fit and binge drinkers.


The crew were also called to the Eye of the Wind (a tall ship) at Greenwich on 24th May. One of the crew on board had been injured and had possibly broken their ankle. The casualty was assessed and needed further attention, although the London Ambulance Service advised that they were unable to task an ambulance at that time. Therefore, the man was extracted from the vessel and escorted to a taxi which then took him to hospital. A few days later the crew who atteneded received a card saying thanking them for the assistance given by the lifeboat crew. The ankle was broken and they also made a donation and have given an open invite for any of the crew to visit them should they be in Jersey.




10.03.18 : Crew enter water saving woman clinging to house barges in Battersea



At just after 0530 on Saturday 10th March 2018, 3 RNLI crew were called to Battersea Bridge for a woman in the water.


The lifeboat arrived on scene to find that there were already landside police officers present but they were unable to reach the woman who had floated down between two house barges. The gap was too narrow for the lifeboat to fit in and so a life-ring was thrown to her but she was too cold to grab onto it. With no alternative, one of the crew entered the water and made his way to the woman. He took the woman to a nearby ladder and helped the police officers recover her safely.


The London Ambulance Service were also on scene by this time and so the woman was transported straight to an awaiting ambulance.