Man Rescued After Fall from Brentford Lock

Large crowd cheer as lifeboat crew save man from rising tide

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

At 11.20 on Sunday morning 5th November London Coastguard requested Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat to attend an incident by Brentford lock.

A man had fallen 30 feet from a wall onto the mud close to Brentford lock at the entrance to the Grand Union Canal. A friend had climbed down to help him but was unable to do anything on his own. An hour passed by before he could get anyone’s attention, by then the tide had started to rise and he was panicking.

The lifeboat arrived at the scene at 11.28 to find a semi-conscious casualty being held up above the rapidly rising water. He had extensive injuries to his face, head and shoulders and was now hypothermic with severe difficulty in breathing.

The fire brigade had arrived on the landside but was unable to recover the man to the shore. Helmsman Alan Hudson assessed the situation and decided the best course of action was to get the injured man onto the lifeboat so that he could be landed at a safer location. Mechanic Ian Owen and crew member John Pooley went into the water. With the assistance of four firemen the crewmen placed the casualty onto the lifeboat’s basket stretcher with a cervical collar and spinal board.

Alan Hudson manoeuvred the stern of the boat close to the casualty in very shallow water. This would not have been possible in a propeller driven boat. The E class RNLI lifeboats used on the Thames are driven by twin water jets.

Once on the lifeboat, volunteer crewman John Pooley, who is also a London Ambulance Service paramedic, took charge of first aid. He placed the casualty on oxygen and set up an intravenous drip to replace his blood loss. His condition was constantly monitored by the crew until he was transferred to an ambulance at Chiswick Pier and taken to Charing Cross Hospital. The man’s friend was also taken on board and was treated for hypothermia resulting from his time in the water.

A crowd of several hundred people had gathered to watch the crew at work and all cheered when the lifeboat set off with the casualty safely on board

The RNLI has 233 lifeboat stations including four on the Thames. Chiswick RNLI lifeboat became operational on the 2nd January 2002. Since then it has responded to 903 emergency calls. The four Thames lifeboats together have responded to over 3000 calls. The RNLI is entirely supported by voluntary contributions.

November 7, 2006