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Officers save man from drowning in the River Thames

News   •   Nov 18, 2016 16:42 GMT

Four officers have been praised for their heroic actions after rescuing a man who was drowning in the River Thames near Fulham.

Police were called by the Port of London Authority at 03:34hrs on Tuesday, 15 November, to reports of a member of the public in difficulty after he fell into the River Thames by Plantation Warf, SW6.

Before the police arrived, the crew of a passing vessel ship, the Polla Rose, managed to throw a life ring and rope to the man but could not pull him aboard.

Officers from Hammersmith and Fulham were first on the scene and boarded the Polla Rose.

That evening the tide was exceptionally strong and flowing faster than normal, making the urgency of rescuing the man even greater.

Recognising the seriousness of the situation, PC Ky Bukhari from Hammersmith and Fulham risked her own safety and climbed down the pilot ladder to hold the 40-year-old man up to stop him from drowning.

His head kept dropping face down in the water and was only kept up by PC Bukhari’s actions of pulling him up.

As this was unfolding, the Polla Rose was forced to reverse because it could not fight the tide any longer.

It immediately began to dangerously drift down towards Imperial Wharf. Officers from the Marine Policing Unit (MPU) then arrived to assist in the rescue.

PC Nick Bultitude of the MPU acted quickly and drove his boat into the closing gap.

The boat was in a position where it was close enough for his crew to perform a rescue and avoid crushing the man in the water between the MPU's boat hull and the Polla Rose.

The Polla Rose continued reversing which caused PC Bukhari to lose her grip on the ladder and also fall into the river.

Two of PC Bultitude's crew members leaned over the guard rail of the police boat and reached out between the moving hulls to grab hold of PC Bukhari and pull her to safety.

At the same time, PC Bultitude left the wheel of the boat and held the man above the water between the police boat and the Polla Rose. He was then joined by his colleagues who assisted in pulling him onto the police boat and where he received first aid.

PC Bukhari and the man were taken to a central London hospital for treatment. They have since been discharged.

Inspector Chris Green, from the Marine Policing Unit, said: "This was a fantastic effort by all the officers involved. Their heroic actions resulted in saving a member of public's life. PC Bukhari did not think twice about putting her own life in danger in order to help the man in the water. The officers from the Marine Policing Unit's quick thinking played a vital role in not only rescuing the casualty, but their own colleague as well.

"All of the officers involved acted above and beyond the call of duty and their bravery deserves to be recognised as do the actions of the crew of the Polla Rose. This demonstrates what can be achieved when the Police and public work together."