UK Government

Tower Hamlets, London Borough of (London): River rescue exercise planned

Press Release   •   Sep 23, 2010 13:15 BST

An emergency search and rescue exercise will be taking place on the Thames next week (Thursday 30 September).

Tower Hamlets Council is warning residents who live along the river that they may catch sight of a planned exercise involving the Coastguard, Police, Fire and Ambulance Services and the RNLI.

It will involve a fake collision between a passenger boat and a commercial boat near Tower Bridge.

Dummies to represent casualties from the accident, also known as ‘dead Freds’ will go into the river to be rescued. Due to the river’s tidal flow these may be spotted as far down stream as Wapping and Limehouse Basin.

Adrian Bates, Coastal Safety Manager for the South East Region, said: “This kind of search and rescue exercise is excellent practice for a real emergency scenario.

“It means we can test how all agencies respond and apply lessons learned in case anything like this happens for real.”

There will be activity on and around the river during the evening exercise, which might include the arrival of a Police helicopter and the use of a smoke machine.

Adrian added: “This is a vital exercise and whilst every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum, nearby residents might hear some activity on and around the river. We’ll be ensuring that all exercise activity will be over by 11.30pm.”


Notes to editors

All Emergency Services personnel taking part in the exercise will be easily identifiable.

For enquiries, contact Kelly Powell, Acting Communications Manager, Tower Hamlets Council on 020 7364 4390.

For enquiries relating to the exercise, or attendance on 30 September, contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office, on: (023) 8032 9401.

For media enquiries contact Rosie Tapping, Press Officer, tel: 023 8032 9401 or


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