Jimi Olubunmi-Adewole 'didn't think twice' when he risked life to save woman in Thames, as family call for bravery award

Jimi 'didn't think twice' about risking his life to save someone else, his best friend said

A 20-year-old restaurant worker "didn't think twice" when he risked his life to save a woman in the River Thames, his best friend who was with him at the time of the tragic incident said.

Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, known as Jimi, was on his way home from work with his friend and co-worker Bernard Kosia at around midnight on Saturday when he heard the screams of a woman in the River Thames. He died after jumping in the water to try to save her.

Mr Kosia told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “Jimi was adamant, for some reason, that he didn’t care (about himself). He didn’t think twice as to what was going to happen.

“I just remember him saying ‘Bernard, I have to save her, I’m going to save her’. I just remember him taking off his jacket at the time."

Jimi's family called for the government to formally honour their son, who was a 'good boy' and always took care of his parents

Mr Kosia, who could not swim, described how Jimi and another man jumped in to save the woman. The woman and the man survived. Jimi died despite being a strong swimmer, according to his friend.

“To risk your life in such a way, you don’t see that every day,” he said.

Jimi's family are calling for him to be formally honoured with an award such as the George Cross - the highest award for bravery that can be bestowed by the government.

Dad Michael Adewola, 63, described his 20-year-old son as a "good soul" who was the breadwinner of the house and always took care of his parents.

Mr Kosia recalls his last conversation with Jimi:

Best friend Mr Kosia recalled his last conversation with Jimi on the way home from work: "As per normal, me and Jimi's conversations were never easy. They were always just about family, about loved ones, what we have to do for them to make sure they are okay. And that was the main purpose of his life.

"We were just walking casually and we started joking around and I just remember Jimi looking at me like: 'Bro, you know I love you right?' I was like, 'bro I love you too, man.'"

"And he always tends to come behind me and strokes my head."

He said two men then ran up to them and showed them a video of a woman jumping over the bridge. The pair immediately phoned 999.

'To risk your life in such a way, you don't see that every day'

He continued: "(The woman) is actually struggling. We could hear her screaming. She was like: 'I'm dying, I'm dying.' Those were the exact words from her.

"So instantly, me and Jimi were trying to find out where she was because it was around midnight, you couldn't see anything. It was pitch black by the river."

After the pair traced the screams to one side of the river, Jimi and another man jumped into the river.

Mr Kosia was on the phone to a 999 operator and he said the next time he looked out to the river, he could not see Jimi or the other man.

He said: "All I could hear was Jimi shouting my name, saying: 'Berns, Berns!' But the shout wasn't normal. It was pain."

Bernard Kosia TikTok tribute to Jimi, who died while trying to save a woman in the river:

He described his friend as a "neighbourhood hero” and said: "Wherever he is today, I do want to thank him".

He said: "Jimi meant a lot to everyone, especially around south London now. Everybody knows him as a neighbourhood hero.

"To risk your life in such a way, you don't see that every day and the fact that he was adamant to save that woman itself it just shows his nature and his mindset."

Jimi had lost a friend who died after also trying to save someone else. He had a tattoo to honour him, his family explained. Malcolm Mide-Madariola was just 17 when he was stabbed to death outside Clapham Tube station in 2018.

A GoFundMe fundraiser to support his family has raised over £90,000 with thousands of people donating towards the funeral costs and support for the family.