Search Continues for Missing Rowing Coach

Michael Hill believed to have fallen overboard near Putney Embankment

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Putney Police say they are continuing to work with their colleagues in the River Police in a search for a rowing coach believed to have fallen overboard in the Thames yesterday evening near Putney Embankment.

The alarm was first raised yesterday at around 7.30pm yesterday (2nd February) when London Coastguard received reports that a small vessel was seen in the river bumping into moored vessels at Putney Embankment.  Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew retrieved the boat but it was found to be empty prompting concerns that it had been manned and there may be a person or persons missing.

Michael Hill

The missing man has been named in the Evening Standard as Michael Hill who is a member of the Putney based London Rowing Club and who coaches rowing at Latymer Upper School.

A police spokesman said: “A full search has been conducted by officers assisted by the marine support unit but at this stage no-one has been located.”

Wayne Bellamy, Station Manager at Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station, explained: ‘The lifeboat crew launched at 7.30pm yesterday and, along with the police boat and helicopter, fire boat, and other rowing coach vessels, took part in an extensive search of the River Thames. After two-and-a-half hours last night we hadn't found any persons.

‘We launched again this morning at 9am to search the area in daylight, and at low water, but with nothing found we returned to the lifeboat station at 11am.'

It is unknown if the missing man was rowing alone or coaching at the time of the incident.

Police said next of kin have been informed.

A spokesman from the Port of London Authority said an investigation has been launched into the causes of the incident.

February 3, 2015