The family of a 20-year-old who died after jumping into the River Thames to rescue a woman have paid tribute to their “hero”.
Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole was reportedly on his way home when he entered the water at around midnight on Saturday (24 April) after spotting a woman fall from London Bridge.
Two men entered the water around midnight after spotting the woman fall from the structure, City of London Police said.
The coast guard and the Metropolitan Police’s marine unit rescued the woman and one of the men, but could not locate Olubunmi-Adewole despite an extensive search. His body was found at 6am the following morning.
It is unknown whether the woman was later treated in hospital or not.
‘The deepest and most wonderful man’
His father Michael Adewola, 63, told The Sun newspaper that his son, known as Jimi, deserved a “medal” for the “bravery” he showed by diving into the river with a friend to try and save the woman.
“He is a very unique and angelic soul, and I am proud of him, so proud, and I want the world to know he is the deepest and most wonderful man,” Adewola said.
He added: “He is a hero, and always will be, I can’t bring him back but I want him to be remembered forever for what he did, it was just like him to want to always try and help others.”
Jimi was with a friend, Bernard, when they heard a woman had fallen into the Thames.
Bernard told Sky News: “There’s a woman that’s just jumped aboard, we can hear the woman screaming ‘help me, help me, I’m gonna die’. Instantly Jimi looked at me and I said, ‘all right, we can look for her’. But we couldn’t see her, it was pitch black.”
‘The best of us’
A GoFundMe fundraiser to support his family is closing in on £50,000, double the £25,000 target, with more than 3,000 people donating towards the funeral costs and support for the family.
Jimi’s mother, 54-year-old Olasunkanmi Adewole, told Sky News: “I feel bad, because my son was trying to rescue a woman. I feel so bad … and I want people to help me. I want justice for my son.”
Commenting on reports of Olubunmi-Adewole’s death, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted that he “was the best of us”.
Khan added: “A true hero of our city who gave his life trying to save another. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of tragic loss.”
Paying tribute under the hashtag ‘#jimithehero’ on Twitter, friends have remembered Olubunmi-Adewole as “a charismatic young man” and a “pure hearted soul”.
Speaking to The Times, a close friend of Olubunmi-Adewole, Joseph Sowole, said that he “wasn’t even slightly surprised” to hear about his friend’s actions in trying to save the woman who fell from London Bridge.
“He was just that kind of person, always trying to help the next person,” he told the paper.
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