Londoners warned not to swim in River Thames after man's body is found

Londoners have been reminded not to wade into the Thames this summer after the body of a man was recovered from the water today.

Swimming in the capital’s river is incredibly dangerous due to the cold water and strong undercurrents, police warned.

The man’s body was discovered near Wapping after three swimmers went missing earlier this week.

Inspector Stuart Simpson, from the Met’s Marine Policing Unit (MPU) said: ‘Sadly, today my officers recovered the body of a man, believed to be aged 23, from Shadwell Basin after he entered the water last night.

‘Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this extremely upsetting time.

‘We also responded to two further reports that people had entered the water at Waterloo Bridge at 8.30pm and near Kingston High Street at 8.35pm. Enquiries remain active to locate the individuals.

‘One death is one too many and we are absolutely committed to reducing the number of deaths on the River Thames, as well as across London.

‘Whilst at times, the Thames may look appealing, especially in this hot weather, it remains very dangerous all year round.

‘On initial entry the water can seem warm on the surface, but further in it can be freezing cold and there are often very strong undercurrents.

‘The initial shock of the cold water is often what leads to people going subsurface and subsequently drowning.

‘Cold water shock is a killer and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) figures tell us that in waters like this on the Thames, within three minutes people will start to suffer from its effects.

‘Even in the middle of summer, you may experience cold water shock in rivers or the sea where you inhale water involuntarily because the temperature is so low.’

Neil Withers, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager for the Thames, said swimmers could be swept away mere ‘seconds’ after entering the river.

He continued: ‘It’s never worth the risk. Please find a lido or pool and enjoy the hot weather safely.

‘We don’t want any more families and friends to lose loved ones when it’s so easily avoidable.’

A Drowning Prevention Strategy for the River Thames was created earlier this year by the Met Police, RNLI, Port of London Authority and London Ambulance Service and Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

The programme calls for people from all walks of life to play their part in saving lives by following safety advice and having the confidence to intervene in emergency situations.

A crucial element is asking the public to call 999 and ask for the coastguard, rather than go into the water themselves.

Anyone who sees or hears anyone who may be planning on entering is asked to speak to them and attempt to talk them back to a safe piece of land.

For further advice on how to stay safe in the water, click here.

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