Four police constables and a crew from a private vessel have been praised for the daring rescue of a man who had fallen into the Thames near Fulham .
The heroics of PCs Ky Bukhari, Nick Bultitude, Dan Larner, Andy Pescott were commended by the Royal Humane Society, along with three members of the Polla Rose vessel.
They put their lives on the line in saving the man who had fallen into the river by Plantation Wharf, Chelsea Reach, in the early hours of November 15 2016.
Crew on the Polla Rose had spotted the man in distress shortly after 3.30am, and approached their 402 tonne vessel to help.
Fighting a strong and fast flowing tide, Captain Kevin Hughes, mate Connor Keeshan and deck hand Alan Mole moved the ship to try and push the struggling man towards shallower water.
They also threw him a life ring but the by this stage the 40-year-old had gone under on two occasions and was unable to grab hold of it.
PC Bukhari, from Hammersmith and Fulham Police , was on land and responded to the incident, stepping from the riverbank onto the Polla Rose.
Recognising the man was in serious difficulty, she descended the ship’s pilot ladder, without the aid of a life jacket and despite obvious risks, and grabbed the man, who was unconscious.
While keeping his head above the water, the strength of the tide forced the boat to reverse and drift dangerously towards Imperial Wharf.
At this stage, Met’s Marine Policing Unit boat arrived, with PC Bultitude behind the wheel and PC Larner and PC Pescott aboard.
They saw that PC Bukhari and the drowning man would be crushed if the Polla Rose continued drifting.
The boat was manoeuvred near the Polla Rose, but PC Bukhari lost her grip on the pilot ladder and tumbled into the river.
At great risk to themselves, PCs Pescott and Larner reached over the boat’s guard rail and pulled PC Bukhari out of the water.
Realising that his crew would not be able to lift both casualties out of the water, PC Bultitude left the wheel of the police boat to help the team pull the man onto the police boat.
First aid was given to PC Bukhari and the rescued man while both boats managed to move away from serious collision with inches to spare.
The crew of the police unit said there was no doubt that had PC Bukhari had not kept the man’s head above the water line he would drowned. He was taken to hospital and later discharged.
At the ceremony on Thursday (October 26), PC Bukhari was awarded a Testimonial on Vellum.
PCs Bultitude, Larner and Pescott were given Testimonials on Parchment, while the three men on the Polla Rose were awarded Certificates of Commendations.
At the same ceremony, held near Earl’s Court, Hammersmith and Fulham Police’s PC Kristopher Payne was commended for helping save the life of a boy, 14, stabbed in the chest.
They were given their awards by deputy commissioner Craig Mackey.
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