London

Homeless man has clothes stolen in London river rescue

Adan Abobaker
Image caption Adan Abobaker said he sprinted as fast as he could to reach the woman when he saw she was in trouble

A homeless man who jumped into the Thames in central London to save a drowning woman had his clothes stolen while he was in the river.

Adan Abobaker, 37, heard the woman crying out as he walked close to Blackfriars Bridge.

He managed to reach her and held her until a lifeboat arrived to ensure they both received medical treatment.

But his hat, gloves and flask had been taken from the riverbank, as well as a jumper which had sentimental value.

Martin Garside, from the Port of London Authority, said Mr Abobaker was "extremely brave and selfless" when he acted on Tuesday at about 2230 GMT.

"The River Thames at any time of year is harsh and unforgiving, and this was also in darkness," Mr Garside said.

"Thanks to his efforts, and the skill and professionalism of the nearby safety boat, tragedy was averted."

Stripped off

Mr Abobaker - who is staying at a hostel in Southwark, south-east London, run by the St Mungo's homeless charity - said he sprinted as fast as he could.

"It was one of those cries where you really know that someone's in trouble.

"I took the life-preserver from the side of the river and just threw it as far as I could, but it was nowhere near her.

"I stripped off, took my jacket and jumper off, and dived in.

"I just thought, 'get to her'. That's all I cared about."

He and the woman were taken ashore by the lifeboat and treated in hospital for the effects of the cold.

Mr Abobaker said he believed the woman had been released by doctors and was being cared for by relatives.

But he told BBC London 94.9 his belongings had disappeared by the time he reached dry land.

"My jumper was a present from my brother - it was the first ever present he gave me, so it was quite sentimental," he said.

"I just hope they went to a homeless person, and I hope they keep them warm."

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