The RNLI is urging people not to enter the water to rescue animals after a man jumped into the river Thames to save a dog and was left balancing precariously on chains attached to the Embankment wall

A man, who was found holding a dog and clinging onto chains attached to the Embankment wall on the river Thames, has been rescued by the RNLI.

The dog, which was off the lead, had leapt into the chilly waters of London’s river, which is known for its tidal currents and fast moving water.

The crew of the RNLI’s Tower lifeboat station, which is beneath Westminster Bridge, had already been launched after the UK Coastguard received reports of a dog in the water near St Thomas’ Hospital.

They were asked to recover the dog to avoid members of public entering the river and potentially putting themselves in danger.

However, when the volunteers arrived, a man had already gone into the river to rescue the pooch.

A Metropolitan Police boat was also tasked to attend.

Commenting on the rescue, Tower RNLI lifeboat crew member, Mick Nield, said: “As we neared Westminster Bridge we were given an update that, indeed, a member of the public had entered the river to try to help. We arrived on scene with the police boat and could see a man stood on the rescue chains attached to the Embankment wall.”

A man holding a dog is balancing on chains while awaiting rescue from the RNLI on London

The man was found holding the dog and clinging onto wall chains. Credit: Tower RNLI

“He was stood just above the waterline with the dog in his hands. The police boat crew were approaching the man to recover him but when they spotted the lifeboat they gestured to us to take over the rescue,” he added.

The RNLI crew positioned the lifeboat against the wall so the dog could be safely handed over, then the man was recovered into the lifeboat.

It became apparent that he was not the owner of the dog.

The dog’s owner then made himself known to the lifeboat crew and the shivering pooch was reunited with its owner.

“It appears the dog was let off its leash and without a thought leaped over the wall into the river,” explained Nield.

Continued below…

“We were just glad both the man and the dog were OK. Both were very fortunate – whilst this was a brave act, the RNLI would not usually encourage people to go into rivers or the sea to save animals, as more often than not the person themselves can get into danger, further escalating the danger and the need for a rescue,” explained the RNLI crew member.

“The water can be very cold and, on such a busy stretch of the river there is a considerable amount of river traffic. The RNLI encourages anyone who sees someone in difficulty in the River Thames to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard,” stressed Nield.

Earlier this year, the UK Coastguard issued similar advice after a woman went into the sea to save her pug dog and had to be rescued by the crew of the Scarborough inshore RNLI lifeboat.