Police, Fire and RNLI crews search the river at Strand on the Green

Image abvove: Police and RNLI crews out on the river this afternoon searching for a ‘person in the river’; photograph David Clarke RNLI

Police, Fire and RNLI crews turn out to search the river at Strand on the Green after member of the public reports seeing what they think is a person in the water

A helicopter was hovering low over the river just east of Kew Bridge this afternoon (Saturday 6 April), with Police, Fire and RNLI rescue boats searching the river after a member of the public called in a report of what they thought was a person in the water.

Afternoon drinkers in the Bull’s Head and the City Barge were joined by local residents who turned out to find out what all the noise was about.

Image above: RNLI crew comes ashore

As the boats patrolled the river, members of the Fire crew on the tow path at Strand on the Green discovered a sopping wet black gilet, which the RNLI crew leader searched, without finding any ID. Their working hypothesis then became the idea that someone might have been in the river and climbed out of their own accord.

The helicopter disappeared not long before 5pm and the boats headed off downstream.

Images above: Gilet that was examined RNLI crew comes ashore; photographs of the RNLI boat and the helicopter by David Clarke, RNLI

What was it that was in the river?

As the afternoon drew to a close it became apparent that the call was a false alarm, with good intent – which the RNLI say they are perfectly happy with. The last thing they want is for someone to drown because a passer-by is too embarrassed to call them in case they make a mistake.

But the body in the water? Very probably the seal which has been living in the area for some while, making an appearance every now and then. Neither emergency services not the seal are concerned their tea time hunt was a red herring.

Image above: Helicopter hovering low over the river; photograph David Clarke

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar