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Man and his dog rescued by Lifeboat from River Blyth at Southwold Harbour

PUBLISHED: 16:13 26 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:49 27 December 2016

The rescue took place in the River Blyth at Southwold. 

Photo: Archive

The rescue took place in the River Blyth at Southwold. Photo: Archive

(c) copyright citizenside.com

A man had to be rescued from freezing cold, fast flowing water by a lifeboat crew after he got in to difficulty trying to save the family dog when it fell into the River Blyth at Southwold Harbour.

Humber Coastguard received a call just before midday alerting them to the incident and the RNLI Southwold Lifeboat was dispatched to the scene.

Both the man, believed to be in his forties, and the dog – a whippet named Rosie – were perilously close to death by the time they were picked up by the lifeboat crew.

The man, his wife and two sons had been staying in Halesworth with his mother-in-law, who owns the dog. They were taking it for a walk at Walberswick when it fell over the edge of the harbour.

According to lifeboat crew member Keith Meldrum, the situation was made worse by the high spring tide which was rushing out at the time, with “incredibly fast flowing” water.

He said: “Southwold Harbour has a very fast flow at the best of times and today it was a flood tide so the harbour had flooded and then all of that water was rushing out at peak flow just at the time this happened.

“We are not entirely sure but we think the man was in the water, which was freezing cold, for approaching half an hour.”

The man’s core body temperature was dangerously low and he was eventually taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston by ambulance for further for treatment.

Meanwhile, Ellie the dog was wrapped in two layers of blankets for 20 minutes to help warm her up.

Mr Meldrum continued: “She was in a sorry state and shivering all the time – it took a long time to warm her up but she got plenty of love and attention and after half an hour, she walked away perfectly fine.”

Dog owners are being reminded to call the coastguard rather than risking their own lives to rescue their pets.

Mr Meldrum added: “The thing to do always is to dial 999, ask for coastguard and we will rescue the dog.

“We will never consider it a waste of time because we can get the job done effectively without anyone’s life being put at risk.”

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