Custom Search

Monday, August 1, 2011

Real-life Lassie saves her owners by alerting rescuers after they fell 200ft down cliffs

By Daily Mail Reporter

Police and coastguards nicknamed a spaniel 'Lassie' today after she saved the lives of her two owners who had plunged 40 feet down cliffs.

The Welsh springer spaniel ran and barked persistently at the top of the cliffs above Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon, until the crew of a passing vessel understood her urgent signals.

They dialled 999 and the couple, a 53-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman, were taken off the rocks at the bottom of the cliff in an inshore lifeboat.

Rescue: The spaniel nicknamed 'Lassie' by police and coastguard waits patiently half way down cliffs in Torquay, Devon, after her owners had plunged 200 feet to the rocks below

The woman was able to walk, but the man had to be strapped to a stretcher and carried over the treacherous rocks after suffering serious head injuries.

Coastguards said the alarm was raised by the crew of a passing sailing vessel, the Four Sons, after they heard the spaniel barking and saw the man lying injured.

Amazingly, while the rescue was taking place, 'Lassie ' took up a position half way down the cliffs in Ilsham Marine Drive, where she waited until they were safe.

Coastguards then used a packet of ham from a nearby house, to coax 'Lassie' to the top.

Bystander David Kimberley, 71, said: 'By the time I got there, the coastguard had just arrived.

'But a young couple who'd been there some time told me that the dog had caused a real rumpus.

'Apparently she kept running about and jumping over the small wall at the top of the cliff road until finally someone realised what had happened.

Loyal: The devoted pooch managed to alert passers-by who raised the alarm after his persistent barking

'We stood there for ages, but the coastguard had the Devil's own job to get her back to the top again.

'She was about 75 feet down and it was like she didn't want to leave her owners'.

This afternoon it emerged the man and woman fell after trying to retrieve the
Spaniel, and their other dog, a terrier, when they wondered off the beaten track.

Fiona Iris, the Brixham Coastguard watch manager, said: 'It seems that the man and woman were out walking the spaniel and a terrier when the dogs went down the cliff.

'The two people scrambled down the cliffs after the dogs and the man then slipped and fell, sustaining a serious head injury.

'The terrier was taken in the lifeboat with the man and woman, whilst the spaniel was rescued from the cliffs by the coastguard team.'

Sgt Lorraine Roberts said the Spaniel ran up and down "like a mad thing, barking furiously'' it attracted the attention of passers-by.

Safe: The man and woman - who have not been named - were rescued, but the emergency services had difficulty tempting the dog back to the cliff top

She said: 'It was just like a scene from a Lassie film.

'She was certainly the heroine of the hour today.'

In all two teams of auxiliary coastguard took part in the rescue. One at the top of the cliff and one at the bottom.

Both the inflatable inshore lifeboat and the main Torbay Lifeboat were involved, and at one stage a Coastguard rescue helicopter hovered overhead in case it was needed.

Hundreds of holidaymakers on the nearby Meadfoot Beach watched as the drama unfolded, though none knew of 'Lassie's' part in the rescue.

Coastguard Dave Chilcott said: 'The rescue was relatively simple, but getting Lassie to the top proved a bit more difficult.

'We kept throwing slices of ham closer and closer and gradually she came up the cliff.'

The two casualties were taken to Torbay Hospital. So far, police have not named them.



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger