Fifty university Boat Race spectators rescued from side of River Thames

RNLI rescue Boat Race spectators Image copyright Chiswick RNLI
Image caption The incoming tide prevented the spectators from getting back to the tow path

More than 50 University Boat Race spectators, including children, had to be rescued from the edge of the River Thames by lifeboat crews.

The RNLI was alerted to the stranded people along Hammersmith, Chiswick and Barnes foreshore, who became trapped by the tide on Saturday afternoon.

An eight-year-old boy who had become separated from his parents was also rescued.

It was a "surprise" to find so many spectators in trouble, the RNLI said.

The number was "significantly greater" than in previous years, it added.

Chiswick RNLI station manager Wayne Bellamy said the tides on the river had caught the spectators unaware.

Image copyright Chiswick RNLI
Image caption Footage showed a number of people waiting to be rescued

As a result, he said, many were cut off and found themselves with limited options for returning to higher ground.

Footage showed about 40 people being rescued from the river's edge on the foreshore, while another seven were evacuated from Chiswick Eyot, a small island in Hounslow.

Oxford beat Cambridge in both the men's and women's race.

It was the first time in the event's history that the Women's Boat Race was held on the same course and day as the men's.

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