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Thursday 25th August 2016
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Close Call For Teen Pulled From Thames After Online Stunt

Monday 1st September 2014

A teenage boy has been saved from near death after being pulled from the River Thames by an RNLI lifeboat crew, who believe he may have been attempting to take part in the ice bucket challenge.

The viral challenge sees people who have been nominated filming themselves being doused in ice filled water before donating money to charity and nominating others to do the same.

Yesterday a lifeboat crew from Tower RNLI were already engaged in a call out when they heard that a person was in the water near Westminster.

Video footage shows the crew pull up to the wall near County Hall, where they found a 16 year old boy who had nearly disappeared under the waterline.

The boy later revealed that his friends had dared him to jump into the water while they filmed it, with the footage to be later uploaded to YouTube.

The RNLI says that without the lifeboat arriving when he did, he 'would surely have died'.

"It happens – but time and time again people just do not realise what the conditions of the River Thames can be like," David Norman, Tower RNLI helmsman, said.

"It can be very cold – granted, not so much at this time of year – but the currents can be vicious. It strikes me that peer pressure can be a very powerful thing, and when it leads to incidents like this, it nearly cost a young man his life."

Tower crew are required to launch within 90 seconds of an emergency but the RNLI believes that if the crew hadn't already been in the water they might have been too late.

"It seems he entered the water and immediately found it hard to stay afloat, swallowing water" said David. "When we got to him you could just about see his face and hand above the waterline. A few seconds later and he’d have been gone under. He had a lucky escape."

The boy was taken back to the lifeboat station where he was assessed and handed into the care of a crew from London Ambulance Service.

"The RNLI’s advice is simple – we implore people to respect the water," David added.

"Indeed, these very words are the name of a current RNLI anti-drowning campaign which aims to reduce the number of males that drown in our waters. It encourages people to take care when on or near the sea or rivers.

"With regards to the River Thames, it is never a good idea to jump from the bridges because of the risks associated with the temperature, the depth, the currents etc."