The Thames flows 2 times faster than Olympians swim, warn experts

The River Thames may not look like the most treacherous river but the sad events of the last few weeks have put its danger into focus.

On Saturday (April 24), Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, known by his friends and family as Jimi, died trying to rescue a woman who fell into The River Thames from London Bridge.

His heroic act cost him his life as he was swept away in the river, leading for calls for him to be recognised for his brave actions.

Prior to this, a 13-year-old schoolboy fell from Tower Bridge into the river on April 20.

Despite the best efforts of the RNLI, the boy has sadly not been found in the week since.

It is clear that the Thames poses a very real danger to anyone who falls into it, but there are measures you can take to protect yourself in an accident.

MyLondon approached the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and asked them what safety tips a person could implement should they find themselves in the water.

A spokesman said: “The tidal Thames is very cold all year round and entering it, even during summer, can result in cold water shock, causing the heart to go into seizure.

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“Added to this, the river flows at double the speed of an Olympic swimmer and, even though it may look calm on the surface, the currents underneath are extremely powerful.

“There is also a serious risk of colliding with vessels on the river, being injured by infrastructure hidden beneath the waterline, or becoming stuck in the deep foreshore mud.

“If you see someone who has entered the river, please call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. RNLI lifeboats on the Thames can launch in 90 seconds and stations at Chiswick, Tower and Gravesend are crewed 24 hours a day.

“If you do fall in, float on your back and scull your hands gently. Try to regain control of your breathing until you can shout for help, and move towards safety if you’re able.”

My London is backing calls for Jimi’s heroic actions to be posthumously awarded the George Cross. We need your help to make this happen.

Please sign the petition here and share it with your friends.

Share the appeal on Twitter using the hashtags#AGeorgeForJimi and #JimiTheHero

My London – Local News