Man threatening to leap into Thames ‘saved stranger’s life’

17:34 13 March 2014

Crew members from the RNLI

Crew members from the RNLI's Tower lifeboat station, the charity's busiest in the country (Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

2014 Getty Images

A man threatening to leap into the Thames from London Bridge last night inadvertently saved a stranger from drowning.

Lifeboat crew were called out around 11pm yesterday evening, and were stood down when police on the bridge talked down the distressed man.

But after being alerted by a passer-by pointing at the river, volunteers with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution spotted the head of a person bobbing in the water not far from the bridge.

“It was clearly a person underwater,” said Tower RNLI crew member Toni Scarr.

“We brought him aboard the lifeboat and found he was wearing a large duffel coat that had weighed him down.

“He was struggling to keep his face above the water. Although he seemed alert and spoke to the crew, he was apologetic and wasn’t sure who he was or how he came to be in the river.”

Back at Tower lifeboat station, waiting ambulance crew found the man was suffering hypothermia, with a body temperature of 33.1C.

Ms Scarr said the incident had been recorded as a “life saved”.

“Chances are if it hadn’t been for the lifeboat crew launching to the original incident, which was resolved by police before we were needed, he would never have been spotted and would have drowned,” she added.

“He was incredibly fortunate in that respect.

“We still don’t know how he came to be in the water but due to an unusual twist of fate we managed to avoid one more fatality on the River Thames last night.

“That first person who was threatening to jump from London Bridge but didn’t probably has no idea that, all things considered, he saved another man’s life.”

The RNLI is a charity, run and operated by volunteers. You can donate here.

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