A young girl and two adults trapped against the wall of the River Thames by a rising tide have been rescued by London's Tower RNLI lifeboat crew, who happened to be on a training exercise nearby.
The charity’s lifeboat was in central London with police and fire service boats when the RNLI crew spotted the young girl and two adults waving frantically from the shoreline, several feet below the river wall.
The three had been exploring the exposed river bed when the tide turned and rapidly rose around them, cutting them off at around 11.50am yesterday.
Craig Burn, Tower RNLI lifeboat helmsman in command said: ‘We could see the young girl and two people who we think were her parents waving frantically from the shoreline. It was clear they were in a dangerous situation. They were pinned against the river wall by the tide which had almost reached their waists.
"It would have only been a matter of minutes before they were swept away by the fast flowing flood tide. People often don’t realise that the River Thames can flows faster than an Olympic swimmer can swim, so it can all too easy knock you off your feet and sweep you away."
All three were brought on board and then taken to Millbank Pier.
The lifeboat crew then received an emergency radio call from London Coastguard to a report of a man in danger near Tower Bridge.
Mr Burn added: "We quickly arrived at Tower Bridge and spotted a man in his 20s clinging to a chain at the river’s edge with the water around his ankles. He had been taking photos of Tower Bridge when he got cut off by the rising tide. I’m not sure how long he could have held on for but he could have easily been swept away by the fast flowing current as the water rose around him."
The man was rescued and taken to St Katherine's Pier.
Mr Burn went on: "We’re having exceptionally low tides at the moment which seems to be encouraging people to climb down to the exposed foreshore. If you are going to do this, please check the tide times beforehand and always be sure you have a means of escape back up to the embankment above."