Pal reveals moment hero who died trying to rescue woman from Thames vowed 'I have to save her' as he jumped in

THE best friend of a hero who died saving a stranger in the River Thames has revealed his pal vowed "I have to save her" before diving in to help.

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.

His friend Bernard Kosia, who was with Jimi on the night, said the restaurant worker "didn't think twice" about saving the woman and hailed the 20-year-old as a "hero" for his actions.

Giving an emotional interview today, Bernard told Good Morning Britain: "Jimi was adamant, for some reason, that he didn't care [about himself]. He didn't think twice as to what was going to happen.

"I just remember him saying 'Bernard, I have to save her, I'm going to save her'."

His words saw host Susanna Reid break down in tears, as she said people are "fully behind" a campaign for Mr Olubunmi-Adewole to be awarded a posthumous George Cross for bravery.

Bernard said: "Jimi means a lot to everyone. Especially around South London now, everyone knows him as a neighbourhood hero.

"To risk your life in such a way, you don't see that every day.

"And the fact that he was adamant to save that woman, it just shows his nature and his mindset."

Recalling their last conversations before the tragic incident, Mr Kosia said his friend had spoken about his family and told him he loved him.

He said: "They [our conversations] were just always about family, loved ones, what we have to do for them to make sure that they're OK."

He added: "We started joking around and I just remember Jimi looking at me like 'Bernard, you know I love you, right?'

"And I was like 'Bro, I know you do, man'."

The two pals were alerted to the incident at London Bridge on Saturday and called 999.

They heard a woman shouting "I'm dying, I'm dying" but could not see anything because it was "pitch black".

Bernard said he cannot swim but his friend and another man went into the water to try and rescue the woman.

He said he heard Jimi shouting his name "but the shout wasn't normal, it was pain".

Jimi's parents Michael Adewola, 63, and Olasunkanmi Adewole, 54, have paid tribute to their son as someone with "a good heart" and are calling for his selfless deed to be formally recognised.

Speaking this morning, Susanna Reid said people are "fully behind" a campaign for Jimi to be awarded a posthumous George Cross for bravery.

Mr Adewola told her: "I want the Government to honour him."

He added: "Jimi was a good soul to me."

Describing his son as "the breadwinner of the house", he said he was "always taking care of me and my wife and his friends".

The proud dad went on to thank all those who have supported a GoFundMe page set up to help the family – which has so far raised more than £88,000.

And Mrs Adewole said her son "had a good heart".

The Coastguard and the Metropolitan Police's marine unit rescued the woman and one of the men, but could not locate the other.

A body was found at 6am on Saturday morning, police said, which has since been formally identified as that of Mr Olubunmi-Adewole.

Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Shaw, from City of London Police, described him as a "brave, kind and selfless young man".

He said: "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."

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