A quick-thinking MP was involved in a dramatic rescue of a woman from the Thames near the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday evening. Stephen Gilbert was at an event on the House of Commons terrace, overlooking the river, when he saw what he thought was a body floating past.
But when he saw the body move he reacted quickly, throwing a lifebelt into the water, which the woman was able to grab before being rescued further downstream. Liberal Democrat Gilbert, who was at an event for bus operators on the Commons terrace, was left shaken by the incident.
He said: "What looked like a body just floated past. Then I saw that the person then moved and I followed them down the terrace." A number of life rings are kept along the terrace at the Palace of Westminster and Gilbert, the MP for St Austell and Newquay, threw one into the river.
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He said: "There are some lifebuoys on the terrace, I guess this is not the first time something like this has happened. I didn't expect for the person to move and then I didn't expect to have to react to get them a lifebuoy. She disappeared towards Westminster Pier and she was rescued near to that." Gilbert admitted the shock had left him "barely able to string a sentence together".
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a woman had been pulled from the river near Westminster Pier, just yards from the House of Commons. A spokesman said: "The woman was rescued from the water by the RNLI, the marine policing unit was also involved. She has been taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service."
Gilbert wrote on Twitter: "Shaken after seeing a body float past House of Commons terrace - she moved, I threw a life-buoy and she's now been rescued! #Result."