THE family of a hero who died after diving into the River Thames to save a stranger believe rescue teams called off the search for him too quickly.
Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole – known as Jimi – plunged into the waters near London Bridge in the early hours of Saturday after alerting cops to the woman's plight.
A passerby jumped in with him and both the second man and the woman were saved but Jimi, 20, was swept away and his body was tragically found six hours later.
Jimi's parents Michael Adewola, 63, and Olasunkanmi Adewole, 54, have been left heartbroken by the tragedy.
Mrs Adewole told Sky News: "I feel bad, because my son was trying to rescue a woman."
Mr Adewola added: "He had a very good heart and he was very good son to me." He added that his son would often help other people in his area.
He then said he believes the hour-long search for his son in the water was "not enough".
Jimi was with his friend Bernard when they heard that a woman had fallen into the river below.
He told Sky: "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, 'alright, we can look for her'. But we couldn't see her, it was pitch black."
Jimi- who was described as a "strong swimmer" – then dived into the water despite the obvious danger.
Bernard said: "Because that's how Jimi is – Jimi is pure at heart".
The Sun earlier revealed the death is the second tragedy to strike his family in three years, after cousin Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17, was stabbed to death for protecting a friend near Clapham South Tube station in 2018.
The 20-year-old Nigerian born Brit was a former student at the Harris Academy in Peckham, the same school that Malcolm attended.
His parents said they were devastated by the new tragedy, but were proud their son died trying to save another person’s life.
Mr Adewola told The Sun: “Jimi was a very nice, kind young man, he was the heart of our family.
“He was full of life, he had his life to live, he was ambitious and he was so gifted.
"He was a precious boy, and so respectful and pure-hearted. Sometimes I don’t know how these boys are like this together, he was just something else."
And Mr Adewola believes his son should be recognised for his bravery.
“We want justice for him," he said.
"We want his life to mean something, it will always mean something to us, but he should be rewarded for the bravery he showed, he deserves a medal for what he did.
“He is a very unique and angelic soul, and I am proud him, so proud, and I want to know the world he is the deepest and most wonderful man."
Jimi – who has two brothers in Nigeria, and one older brother in London – was on his way home from work at fine dining restaurant The Cinnamon Club in Westminster when he spotted the woman on the bridge.
After seeing her fall into the water he dived in to try and save her, along with his colleague.
Describing what happened, his dad said: “Him and his friend were coming from work together, and they called the police, and saw what was happening. They wanted to help and tried to speak to her but wanted to leave it to the police.
“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.
“He would help anyone that needed it. I am proud of my son, he is amazing, but as a family we are devastated. We are just glad the woman is alive too.
“I don’t think I would be able to do it, I might be able to call the police, but I don’t know if I could do it, but this was Jimi, you can’t even describe the kind of heart he had.”
Jimi’s uncle, Olumide Wole-Madariola, 53, and Malcolm’s father said: “It’s the kind of person he was, both him and Malcolm were the same.
“He was just coming back from work, and he saw the woman and he just felt ‘no this can’t happen’ it’s just Jimi for you. It’s typical of both of them to want to help others.
“At home, it’s what he displays the affection, he’s always been ready to do anything to help people, he’s kind, he’s caring, he’s loving, and he was amazing.
“This is so devastating right now, we are all heartbroken.”
Speaking about Malcolm and Ji’s relationship he said: “They are besties, they were besties.
“Jimi even had a tattoo of Malcolm’s name and his date of birth, that’s how close they are, and now it’s like they both died the same way.
“Malcolm died tried to save a younger person, and Jimi tried to save another person too.
“It’s so painful for the whole family, but we are glad that the woman is alive, but I think the parents need all the support in the world.
“But what were they both were thinking, I think of Malcolm and Jimi. When Malcolm stopped his friend, and the same with Jimi when he jumped in the water, what was going through his mind.”
“He is a hero, a true hero, and every part a hero.”
A spokesperson for City of London Police said: "We were called at 12.12am on Saturday 24 April to reports of a woman in the River Thames close to London Bridge.
"Two men, who had witnessed the woman fall from the bridge, entered the river to try and save her.
"The Coastguard and Metropolitan Police Marine Units were able to rescue the woman and one of the men."
Detective Chief Supt Oliver Shaw added: "I would like to send my deepest condolences, and the condolences of everyone at City of London Police, to the family and friends of this brave, kind and selfless young man.
"Our officers arrived extremely quickly to the scene but two members of the public had already entered the water. One man had managed to swim to the woman and they were both seen above water by the Coastguard.
"Sadly, there was no sign of the other rescuer. We remained on scene to assist the marine units and police helicopter with the search in the water. This was stood down by the Coastguard over an hour later.
"We continued to search the shore of the river, in person and using our network of CCTV cameras, and unfortunately, at 05.46 a body was discovered.
"The circumstances of this incident are extremely tragic. We continue to support the family of this heroic young man who heartbreakingly lost his own life trying to save that of another."
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency confirmed that its own search was suspended before Jimi was found.
Matt Leat, HM Coastguard's Strategic Maritime Commander, said: "HM Coastguard coordinated a multi-agency search involving five Search and Rescue vessels, visual searches from bridges and an aerial search by the police helicopter.
"Despite conflicting reports about how many people had entered the water, we responded fully to the suggestion of a third person in the water.
"Conditions were good for a search on the night, with a slow moving tide and a high volume of units from emergency services in attendance. It was determined where in the water the person could possibly be and each area was thoroughly searched multiple times.
"Despite our best efforts, the sad decision was made to suspend the search at 1.20am when no sign of the person was found."
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