Charity canoe team paddle into tragedy
A CHARITY canoe team who have been paddling the Thames this week found themselves in the middle of a tragic rescue attempt.
Members of the team, who set off from St John’s Lock in Lechlade last Friday, spent the first evening of their challenge trying to save a 15-year-old boy from drowning.
After the first leg of their 125 mile journey, the team were preparing to set up camp by Donnington Bridge in Oxfordshire when they were shocked into action by the sound of Hussain Mohammed struggling in the water.
Canoeist Philip Wareing, from Bracknell near Reading, said: “We heard a massive splash and soon realised he wasn’t messing around.”
The 40-year-old dived into the river with a fellow canoeist to try and save the 15-year-old but sadly did not make it in time.
“We dived underneath and prodded with our oars but we couldn't find him," he said. "If we had got to him just two minutes earlier we would have saved him, I'm absolutely sure about that.”
He said by the time emergency services had arrived and were able to search under the water it was too late for the teenager from Cowley in Oxfordshire, whose body was recovered later that day.
Airline cabin crew member Philip said after what had happened it was a struggle to carry on with the challenge but the team of five canoeists were determined to succeed for their sponsors and charity, Help for Heroes.
After 125 miles and 45 locks, they completed their exhausting journey to a rousing crowd of applauding supporters at Richmond Bridge in Oxfordshire on Monday morning.
Philip said they were delighted to have raised around £5,500 for the charity, which has been a great support to a team members’ cousin after he was injured in Helmand last year.
To donate and for more information visit canoeingthethamesforcharity.org