September 14, 2008

Dog Rescued From River


A dog which was swept along the River Dart and over a fast flowing weir has been rescued by firefighters.

Dodi, the three-year-old border collie, got into difficulties during a dip and was washed along a short stretch of the Buckfastleigh river just before 5pm on Thursday.

The pooch went under the water and was carried over a weir leaving owner, Lynn Cardwell, fearing the worst.

She said: "I thought I had lost my dog. I was wandering around thinking what am I going to do now?"

But the ailing swimmer managed to scramble back on to dry land at Otter Sanctuary Island next to the Dart Bridge Road.

Lynn explained: "I couldn't leave his sight because he would have jumped back into the water to come after me. I didn't have a mobile phone.

"A couple from Milton Keynes came along and Christine Pumfrett stayed with me while her husband Alan went to the Otter centre to call the fire brigade. I could not have done anything without them. I'm extremely grateful to everyone who helped."

Fire crews donned life jackets and used lines, ladders and water safety gear to retrieve the soaked and shaking pooch after a 45- minute rescue operation.

Buckfastleigh station manager John Harler said: "The dog decided to jump in and because of all the excessive rain we have had the water was high and flowing fast. The dog drifted down river and the owner thought she had lost her pet.

"The dog went over the weir and then surfaced again before swimming to a point where it was able to get on to an island."

Firefighters were called out and put a triple extension ladder across the water bridging the gap between the bank and the island.

Mr Harler said: "The dog was relieved to have someone with it, but it was too distressed to be helped back across the ladder and the collar slipped over its head when we tried to use a lead.

"We used the water safety bag to put the dog in, secured it so it couldn't get out and two firefighters carried the dog to safety."

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