A man who jumped from Kingston Bridge into the River Thames this afternoon is "lucky to be alive", RNLI Teddington has said.  

Teddington RNLI and the police helicopter were called to Kingston Bridge after five men stood on the edge and one jumped off at about 3.45pm today.

By the time lifeboat crews arrived, the man had already got out of the river and was being spoken to by police.

Andy Butterfield, who helmed Teddington RNLI's three man crew, said: "The guy who jumped is lucky.

"From my shouts over the last 10 years there is a 50/50 chance of dying jumping from Kingston Bridge often due to the impact, the distance underwater you go and the cold water making you involuntarily breath taking water into your lungs.

"The individual may yet find they suffer as a result of the jump.

"In addition to the cost of the resource that attended and the distraction from other work that resource could be attending, you should never jump off a bridge into the Thames.

"The river state changes, objects in the water move and the temperature and flow of the river changes.

"I would prefer not to spend this summer pulling young men, dead, from the river."