The Teddington RNLI lifeboat was launched today (Monday) amid fears that people might be trapped in a capsized boat seen drifting upside down down the river.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were asked to launch by London Coastguard after the hull of a 25ft fibreglass vessel was seen floating downstream by Kingston Bridge. Neither police nor the coastguard could confirm if the vessel had anyone on board so it was decided to launch the lifeboat to search the river as a precautionary measure.

The boat was eventually secured by Teddington Lock and no-one was found, leading the authorities to conclude that the boat was indeed empty.

Andy Butterfield, helmsman of Teddington lifeboat, said: "When we arrived at Kingston Bridge we could see no sign of it. We spoke to an angler on the banks of the river and he said he’d seen it floating past at quite a rate. We then managed to track the boat down at Teddington Lock.

‘We couldn’t really make out what kind of vessel it was to be honest. You could only see the hull because it was upside down. All we could ascertain was that it was made of fibreglass, and it had a hole in the hull several feet in diameter.’

No-one was found in the water so the crew tethered their lifeboat and secured the upturned vessel. They then contacted the Environment Agency to request that the boat be collected and moved away to prevent any danger to other river users.

Story dated Jan 20th 2014

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