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Dozing man falls into London river

© AFP/File | Gulls fly over the River Thames in London, February 27, 2005Gulls fly over the Thames River in London, February 27, 2005

A dozy man who fell asleep on the Thames embankment in London had to be rescued after nodding off and falling in the river, rescue services said Tuesday.

Having fancied a rest in the early hours of Saturday, the man was already half-way to a splash landing when he woke up with a fright, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said.

The Thames is tidal in London and the man managed to swim to a very thin strip of exposed foreshore, with a seven-metre rising tide already part-way in.

RNLI rescue footage shows him standing with his back to the embankment wall near the north end of Blackfriars Bridge.

"We quickly located the man who told us he had laid down on the embankment wall and must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knew, he was falling through the air," said RNLI helmsman Kevin Maynard.

"He said he landed in the river and then managed to get out onto a bit of exposed land."

He was taken to a lifeboat station and handed over to the ambulance service.

Janet Kelly, manager of London's Tower lifeboat station, said: "I would certainly advise people not to fall asleep on the river wall."