RNLI warn people not to swim in River Thames after body of 14 year old boy found

Image above: RNLI boat at Strand on the Green

“His death is a tragedy”

The RNLI have warned families in London not to underestimate the risks of swimming in the Thames in the hot weather.

The body of a boy (14) who jumped into the river on 18 July was found 24 hours later.  He entered the water at Tagg’s Island, Richmond. Paramedics and police officers were alerted but were initially unable to find him.

A spokesperson for Richmond police wrote on Twitter:

“We are sad to report that the body of a 14-year-old boy has been recovered from the Thames this afternoon. Our thoughts are with his family, who are being supported by officers.”

Superintendent Richard Smith, from the South West Command Unit, said:

“His death is a tragedy and I cannot begin to imagine what his family will be going through. All our thoughts are with them. I know that on days like today when temperatures are at a record high, it might look appealing to jump in and cool off in rivers, reservoirs, lakes or other open water.

“Please don’t. The dangers are real and this evening in Richmond we have seen the terrible consequences of what happens when it goes wrong. To young people in particular, I would urge you to be the person in your group of friends who says no and reminds others about the dangers. Your intervention could save a life and save another family from experiencing such an awful loss.”

Every year there are drownings as people dive into cold water in hot weather, underestimating the shock of the cold.

With the school summer holidays just beginning, the RNLI is highlighting the high proportion of children saved by the charity’s lifeguards around the coast.

New figures released by the RNLI reveal that during the summer holidays* last year, of the 41 lives saved by RNLI lifeguards 39% were children under 13. In total RNLI lifeguards last year aided a total of 11,959 people during the school summer holidays.

In London it is the Thames which represents a threat. The RNLI has two stations on the River Thames, one of which is at Chiswick. They are the busiest stations in the whole of the UK and Ireland.

‘As a tidal river the Thames rises and falls twice a day by up to 7 metres meaning anyone entering the river risks hitting many of the structures and debris which lie beneath the surface. The river can flow as fast as 5mph which would overpower even an Olympic swimmer,’ said Gabbi Batchelor Water Safety Education Manager for London and the South East.

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See also: Sadiq Khan pays tribute to London’s firefighters

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