Friday 24 July 2015

Don't copy teenager's 'stupid' Tower Bridge jump, lifeboat chief warns

Londoners are being warned not to copy an “extremely dangerous” YouTube prank that saw a teenager nearly drown after leaping off Tower Bridge.
Performing arts student Shah Faisal Shinwari, 17, vaulted into the Thames in front of stunned commuters while being filmed by a friend - but quickly got into trouble, inhaling mouthfuls of dirty water once he hit the surface and being swept downriver by the strong current.

Exhausted, the YouTube "vlogger" managed to drag himself to the side, where lifeboat rescuers pumped the water out of his lungs and stomach and he was taken to hospital.

Tony Wafer, the RNLI's community safety manager, said: "As a lifesaving organisation that works on the Thames, we are extremely disappointed this young man chose to risk his life in this way.
"He was extremely lucky the outcome wasn't more serious.
"We're glad this young man regrets his actions, but we would strongly discourage anyone from doing anything like this. Jumping into the Thames from a bridge is extremely dangerous.
"The shock of cold water can make it very difficult to swim and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away."
Shah Faisal Shinwari in the Thames

Lucky to be alive: Shah Faisal ShinwariA video of the stunt, uploaded last night to his YouTube channel, has so far notched up thousands of views.
Explaining his actions, Mr Shinwari said: "When I dropped into the water, I couldn't breathe.
"It was the stupidest idea in the world.
"The current was carrying me down the river. I was shouting to my mates: 'Help! Help!'
"It was low tide but I thought 'low tide' meant low current, which is even more stupid. If I'd jumped properly my leg would be broken and I would have died."

Rescue: Lifeboat staff perform first aid (Picture: Shah Faisal Shinwari)After being treated for exhaustion and an infection brought on by the filthy water he swallowed, Faisal was released and returned to his home in Wembley, where he was this week recovering.
"My belly hurt so much," he said. "I had so much water in my lungs, and I swallowed so much. I think it was the dumbest idea I've ever had.
"I thought it would be fun, but so much stuff went wrong.
"I got lucky that I survived. It's not worth risking your life for a stupid dare. It was really dangerous.
"If it wasn't for luck, I wouldn't be talking to you."

Onlookers as Shah Faisal Shinwari jumps off Tower Bridge

Stunned: Onlookers stare as the teenager jumps into the water (Picture: Shah Faisal Shinwari)

The teenager, who admitted he had ended up in "big trouble" with his parents after the jump on Thursday last week, added he wanted to thank the lifeboat workers and St Thomas' Hospital who treated him.
"They helped me so much," he said. "The nurses were just so nice. They even called my parents."
He hopes his example will encourage others to think twice before performing any similar stunts.
"I didn't die," he said, "but if someone else had done it they might have done. I got lucky."