Boat fan turns lifesaver for boy trapped in Thames

Axele Molloy on the banks of the Thames where he saved a young boy's life

Axele Molloy on the banks of the Thames where he saved a young boy's life - Credit: Archant

A boat enthusiast has told of the moment he saved the life of a young boy who became trapped in muddy water on the Thames riverside.

Axele Molloy visited Gallions Point Marina at around 11am on Monday, June 22, to look at a racing boat when he suddenly turned lifesaver.

“I’d been there about 10 minutes when I saw a load of police cars racing over the bridge,” he said.

Realising something had happened, the 43-year-old made his way down to the Thames, followed by six police officers.

“There was a woman wailing hysterically. I was asking her, what’s the problem?”

It was then that he realised the three boys, believed to be aged nine or 10, were stuck.

“I’m a boat person, and you’re told don’t risk your life but when it’s children you just go and forget that,” he said.

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“Another half an hour or so and they would have been washed away.”

The decorator was first to reach one of the boys, who was lying face down in the water. “When I got to him he was covered in mud and freezing cold,” he said.

“I cleared the mud from his airway and took off his shirt and put my jumper on him.”

While clearing the boy’s airway, Axele cut his hand on the boy’s tooth, prompting the police to tell him to come out of the water for health and safety reasons – something Axele said he had no intention of doing.

Despite the RNLI and the Met Police boat being mobilised to deal with the incident, the low tide meant that they were unable to get close to the lads.

Axele, who lives in Treswell Road, Dagenham, said one of the access points to the Thames was blocked up with wood, making it harder for the emergency services to reach the boys.

One of the three was able to walk out after being lifted with ropes.

Axele explained the whole incident lasted between 10 and 15 minutes, adding: “That was my good deed for the day.”

The boys were are all believed to be in good health after being taken to Newham University Hospital for treatment.

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