A have-a-go hero plunged into the River Thames this morning to help a man who moments earlier had jumped from a bridge at the start of the capital’s rush hour.
Lifeboat crew members from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution launched just after 7am today after reports from London Coastguard that a man was in the River Thames, drifting dangerously close to the base of the London Eye attraction
The lifeboat crew arrived just moments later to find that two men were in the water; one had entered the river to help another man who it is believed had deliberately jumped from the pedestrian footpath alongside Charing Cross rail bridge.
Ben Corr, a 36 year old statistician, had been running to work on the South Bank when he was flagged down by a woman. He took up the story: ‘The lady was quite shaken up – she was pointing to a man in the river and said she’d just seen him jump from the bridge. She was clutching a life ring but wanted some help in throwing it out to him.
‘I did try but he was quite far out and the ring missed him. Despite our efforts to coerce him towards it, he was just flailing in the water. At first I held back because I know the emergency services always advise the public not to enter the water in times like that, in case they get into danger as well. But after a moment I decided I had to – so I climbed down onto the foreshore, entered the river, and swam across to him.’
Ben said the man was very distressed and was pushing him away at first, but eventually agreed to take the life ring: ‘I pulled him back to the south bank wall but there was no way to get out. The woman who had stopped me explained that she had called the police and barely a minute later the lifeboat crew arrived.’
Tower lifeboat crew – consisting of helmsmen Craig Burn and Stuart Morrison, and volunteer Jenny Barnett – pulled both men aboard and returned to Tower
RNLI lifeboat station, situated beneath Waterloo Bridge. Craig said: ‘We got them as they were floating down by the base of the London Eye. There is some machinery there and we were concerned about them floating close to that, but we got to them in time.
‘We met with our ambulance service colleagues back at the station and they treated the man who had entered from the bridge. He was cold and shaken and still distressed, and was taken away by ambulance crews for further treatment.
‘Ben stayed with us for a short while and we gave him blankets and lots of tea and biscuits. Ben is right that we don’t advise people to go into the water to help people, but he assessed the situation and made a measured, very brave decision to go in. What he did was hugely commendable and we take our hat – or helmet – off to him: there is one man out there today in London who would surely have lost his life if it hadn’t been for Ben and the lifeboat crew.’
(Video credit: RNLI)
Published on Jul 7, 2014
Running along the South Bank this morning, Ben Corr was expecting a normal Monday in the office. That changed when he was alerted to a man struggling in the Thames. After trying to throw a life ring to the casualty, Ben carefully weighed up the situation & made the decision to go in and swim to the casualty. Meanwhile, Tower lifeboat crew had been alerted & were heading up river. They found both men floating near the London Eye and safety pulled them on board. We don’t advise people to carry out rescues themselves, but Ben made a very measured and selfless decision to go in – and for that we take our hat off to him – RNLI