Minehead RNLI rescue dog from the bottom of the cliff

Lifeboats News Release

Dog owners have been warned to keep their animals on leads when walking on cliff tops after an injured pet was rescued by Minehead’s RNLI lifeboat crew.

Indy, a year-old cocker spaniel, was located and retrieved after falling down a 150-foot cliff at Hurlestone Point, near Porlock, on Thursday afternoon.

The animal had been walking with its owners on a narrow path near a former coastguard look-out and is thought to have slipped over the edge while chasing a stone.

Minehead’s D-class lifeboat was launched and after crew members Charlie Gay and Richard Huish swam ashore she was found among boulders exposed by the low tide at the base of the cliff.

After checking the animal over the crew put her aboard the lifeboat and took her to nearby Bossington Beach to be handed back to her grateful owners.

Charlie said the animal had clearly been shocked by the experience.

“Luckily it’s not a sheer drop down from where she went off the path: there is a steep grassy slope and then a steeply angled rock face, which is where she must have come down,” he said.

“She had a few scratches and bumps and was very shaken up but it could have been much worse.”

Three years ago the Minehead crew carried out another dog rescue five miles to the west when they came across another spaniel which had been stranded for a week after falling over the edge of Foreland Point.

And earlier this year coastguards had to rescue a woman who had got into difficulties while trying to rescue her animal at the foot of cliffs near Watchet.

Minehead lifeboat spokesman Chris Rundle said the three incidents highlighted the importance of not letting dogs run loose in perilous locations.

“Dogs have no appreciation of the danger of cliffs and if they start to chase a bird, an animal or a stone they just follow their instincts,” he said.

“The RNLI is there principally to save human lives but we will always do what we can if animals are in trouble, as long as the conditions are favourable.

“In this case the sea was calm and we were able to get close in to the rocks and put our two crew members ashore without any undue risk to them or the boat.

“Give the inaccessible spot where the dog was stuck had we not intervened it is quite possible it would have drowned when the tide came in. Alternatively its owners may have tried to find and rescue it themselves, which could have exposed them to serious risk at one of the most dangerous locations along this coastline.”

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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