The river Thames can be a dangerous place, especially the large areas of mud that become exposed as the tide goes out.
This is what 4 young children found out around lunchtime today at Gallions Point in North Woolwich, London. Fortunately one of them was able to raise the alarm which triggered a major search and rescue effort.
First on the scene was the Police Air Support Unit helicopter which started to search the area looking for the children and was, at times, operating at very low levels just over the river.
The helicopter was soon joined by the Met Police’s marine unit who fortunately routinely practice mud rescue techniques (see report) and they were closely followed by the crew from Tower RNLI.
Due to the location of the casualties crew from both the Police boat and Lifeboat went ashore to assist ground units with the rescue.
Personnel from MPS Newham and local London Fire Brigade stations also contributed to the rescue effort with the incident being attended by four fire appliances and a similar number of Police units.
The London ambulance service also attended with an incident officer vehicle, a hazardous area response team and later by two ambulances.
In the end a great result involving the teamwork of multiple agencies and specialist units that ultimately led to a successful outcome with all the children accounted for, albeit with them being a bit cold, wet and muddy and hopefully more aware of the dangers of the river.
It is important to note that the RNLI isn’t publically funded and totally rely on charitable donations but like all the other emergency personnel they get in to the thick of the action to help save lives. To help support the RNLI in their mission in London (which is the busiest station in the UK) please see here.
Some more pictures from the incident can be seen here.