Terrified onlookers feared the worst when they saw a frantic mother trying to rescue her pram from the river in Richmond this week.

Fortunately, the child, thought to be about two, was not in the pram when a strong gust of wind pushed it down a slope and into the Thames on Monday morning.

The panicking mother received help from a nearby boatyard and eventually managed to fish out the pushchair from the water.

Witness Lindsey Black, from Richmond, was watching on while walking with her grandson, near Henry's Café Bar, along the Riverside.

She said: "There was a massive gust of wind and I saw the poor lady standing there with her child.

"The pushchair got swept down into the river and the woman was just standing there, watching.

"I told her to run to the boatyard for help and a young lady came with a long hull and managed to pull the pushchair back out - it was very heavy because it was full of water."

The mother lost her purse and mobile phone in the Thames but there was one silver lining - her little girl's rabbit was saved.

Ms Black said it was a popular part of the riverside and warned other parents to be aware of the dangers of the water.

She said: "It was very lucky as it could have been serious - mind you, I think I would have been in if the kid had still been in the pram.

"People have got to be careful because this sort of thing can happen with strong winds like that."

Andy Butterfield, helm at Teddington RNLI, said it was not a regular occurrence on the river but echoed calls for parents to take care.

He said: "Had the child been in the pram, I would be surprised if the wind had been strong enough to carry it into the water.

"But I think being near open water with a pram, people do have to be careful."