Yesterday three people entered the River Thames and did not resurface. One at Waterloo, one at Kingston-on-Thames and one at Shadwell Basin. A body has now been recovered from Shadwell Basin according to an official MPS statement.
At around 6pm yesterday evening a 23 year old male out swimming with his friends went into the water at the western side of the Basin near to Wapping Woods. When he failed to resurface his friends immediately dialled 999 and an immense emergency operation was triggered.
The police, including divers from the Marine Police Unit (MPU) at Wapping High Street, were soon on the scene as well as the MPS helicopter, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade.
Canoeists from Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre were some of the first on the scene.
Two hour search
Despite their efforts the young man could not be found at after two hours the highly skilled MPU divers suspended their efforts. This morning they were back again but this time to search for a body.
In total contrast to those members of the emergency services who were risking their own lives as they searched some of those gathered at Brussels Wharf were indulging in despicable behaviour, as one friend of LW reported to us at the time.
“I have never been so disgusted with people as what I have just seen. I think someone has drowned – lots of emergency services on scene, but all the other swimmers still there and carrying on as if nothing has happened.
This included one disgusting group who, whilst emergency services are there, are laughing and swimming with life ring that they’ve thrown in the water.
Someone tried to stop them and they laughed.”
Which sums up the problem at Shadwell Basin.
The young man who is missing, believed drowned, has not been named. At the time of publication there was no news as to the fate of the two other people missing in the Thames.
During the search operation local residents provided information via social media and LW would like to thank them for their responsible fact-based reports which were very useful for the rest of our community.
Many people criticised the numerous people at Brussels Wharf who continued swimming while the search was underway. While understandable it may well be the case that many of them did not fully realise the full gravity of the situation.
Photographs taken also seem to show a canoeing lesson being given by the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre (SBOAC) still underway near Brussels Wharf and some have questioned why the SBOAC did not suspend their lessons. We have contacted SBOAC for their comments.
Members of SBOAC can be seen in their canoes helping the emergency services in the initial stages of their search.
Update: Statement from Met Police
Officers searching Shadwell Basin for a man in difficulty in the water have recovered a body.
Police were called on Tuesday, 23 July at 18:06hrs, to Garnet Street, E1 (Shadwell Basin) to a report of a man seen to enter the water. The man, believed to be aged 23, was swimming with friends and did not resurface. Officers and the marine policing unit attended and searched the area.
A body, believed to be the same man, was recovered at around 09:45hrs on Wednesday, 24 July. His next-of-kin have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious.
How to float – RNLI video
Related Internet Links
Respect the Water – RNLI
This death was inevitable. More will follow. The Council have taken measures in an attempt to reduce the problem of hundreds of people gathering at Brussels Wharf in hot weather but in the face of such gross stupidity exhibited by those who literally dice with death as they use Shadwell Basin bridge as a climbing frame it is difficult to know what can be done.
We do not know the precise circumstances of the death of the young man who drowned yesterday, he may very well have been acting in a responsible manner and just got unlucky. Reality is that the numerous signs warning against swimming in the Basin do not seem to have much effect.
Many thanks to the numerous local residents who contributed to this story and allowed us to use their photographs.