An RNLI rescue to brighten your day - unless you're a fan of 4x4s

Yachtsmen would never laugh at the misfortunes of those rescued by the RNLI, but here’s a tale to brighten your day – unless you’re a fan of 4x4s.

A 4×4 driver found himself in the swim on Monday when his Range Rover got caught up in the tide.

A Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat was out on a training exercise when the crew saw a vehicle stuck on the foreshore near Chiswick Eyot.

An unfortunate soul (and his girlfriend) thought it would be a bit of fun to explore the foreshore of the Thames in a new Range Rover Sport. They hadn’t accounted for a mud pool or the rising tide.

Some residents of nearby houseboats were concerned that the tide would sweep the vehicle onto their moorings. They tried vainly to dig out the Range Rover, now up to its axles.

The driver was trying to phone a friend to try to arrange a JCB, – it never arrived.
The fire brigade attended with three pumps but did not have equipment to free the vehicle. Eventually the police persuaded the couple to leave the Range Rover before it was submerged.

After ensuring that all on the foreshore were safe the lifeboat crew tied a fender to the vehicle as a marker and secured it to the bank to stop it drifting.

Overnight, the vehicle was completely submerged. In the morning the PLA decided that the waterlogged hulk was a hazard to navigation and used their driftwood crane to remove it during the next high tide.

Chiswick lifeboat station manager, Wayne Bellamy, said “This incident one again shows that the tidal Thames can be a dangerous river that should be treated with respect. It also shows that four wheel drive vehicles do not have the off-road capabilities some imagine they have.”

The RNLI has 233 lifeboat stations including four on the Thames. Chiswick Lifeboat is one of the busiest lifeboat stations in the UK recovering over 100 people each year. The RNLI is entirely supported by voluntary contributions.

This sorry tale was recounted on a local London website: