Lifeboat crew rescue man clinging to rubbish barge in River Thames

Rescuers from the RNLI's Tower lifeboat station pulled a man from the River Thames on Wednesday evening. Credit: Courtesy: RNLI

A lifeboat crew came to the rescue of a man who was clinging to a barge in the middle of the River Thames last night.

A Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew were called to reports that a person was in the water by HMS Belfast.

The man was spotted desperately holding onto the upstream side of a driftwood collecting barge which filters rubbish and debris floating on the surface of the river.

Lifeboat helmsman Chris Walker said the man was in a "very precarious" position:

The casualty was in a very precarious position indeed. There was a 2-3 knot tide running at the time of the call, had it been a faster spring tide, he could very easily have been sucked under or even into the collecting hopper where among the rubbish and debris it would have been very hard to get him out.

Mr Walker managed to steer the lifeboat closer enough to the barge so that his colleagues could grab hold of the stranded man.

While he was being assessed by medical teams, the man suggested that there may be a second person in the water, however after a thorough search rescue teams said they were confident there was no one else missing.