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Waterloo Bridge: sleeping driver sparks lifeboat search mission

London SE1 website team

A driver who fell asleep in a car on Waterloo Bridge inadvertently sparked an emergency search of the River Thames by an RNLI lifeboat crew.

The Tower RNLI lifeboat crew launched into action at 5.12am on Wednesday morning following a 999 call from a concerned passer-by who had spotted the car parked on the bridge with its engine running.

Kevin Maynard, Tower RNLI lifeboat station manager, said: "There were concerns following the 999 call that the driver may have stopped the car on the bridge, got out leaving the engine running and jumped into the river below, so we launched the lifeboat and began a search of the area.

"However, when the police got to the vehicle they found the male driver was actually asleep inside. I assume he felt he was too tired to drive any further. It was an early start for the lifeboat crew but we're ready to launch 24/7 so we're used to launching to help people anytime of the day or night."

The charity's Tower lifeboat station crew have launched 89 times so far this year to help people on River Thames. Last year was the station's busiest ever as they rescued 104 people and saved 16 lives.

As a charity the RNLI's three lifeboat stations in London Tower, Chiswick and Teddington rely on public donations to fund their lifesaving work.

On 28 April, the RNLI will hold a London-wide collection as part of its Mayday campaign and is looking for volunteers to collect particularly at railway stations.

If you have an hour or more spare, please contact [email protected] or call 0300 3009903.

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