At midday on Monday (August 3), Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat was called to a report of a dog in the water behind Sainsbury’s jetty, downstream from Wandsworth Bridge.

The crew saw a creature sitting on the lap of a kayaker between the jetty and a 20ft high river wall.

But to the team's surprise the casualty was quite different from what they expected. When they came near they saw the waterlogged creature was actually a fox.

People had gathered to watch from the high river wall, and though the London Fire Brigade and the RSPCA were already in attendance they were unable to reach the kayaker safely.

On the rising tide RNLI helmsman, James Anthony, was able to manoeuvre the lifeboat into the narrow gap behind the jetty. Once alongside the kayak, the crew, wearing full PPE and visors, were able to transfer the fox into the lifeboat. The firefighters managed to hand over the RSPCA’s cage and once the lifeboat crew had the bedraggled fox safely inside, the cage was handed back.

James said:

"We were concerned about how to approach when we saw the ‘dog’ was actually a fox but it turned out to be the most docile casualty we’ve had to deal with. Certainly a much easier recovery than the angry cat cut off by the tide a few weeks ago."

Since the incident the RSPCA have reported the fox is well and has been released into its 'local' area.

James added:

"Our crews at Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat have had to deal with a number of serious casualties in the last few weeks where the images were too sensitive to show.

"While we don’t want to be seen as an animal rescue service, we do rescue animals to ensure that pet owners or bystanders don’t put themselves at risk by following them into the river.

"We are equipped to deal with these incidents quickly and safely when rescue from the water is the only option"