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RNLI Torbay crew rescue dog which fell 40 feet, breaking 3 legs

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI Torbay volunteer lifeboat crew was called to assist in the rescue of a six-year old Border Collie who had gone over the cliff at Roundham Head (Paignton) and fallen some forty feet to the shoreline below.

RNLI/Torbay

RNLI inshore lifeboat approaches dog and owner on shoreline

The incident, which happened around 9.30pm on Sunday 18 June, was further complicated when three youths went to assist the dog owner, and all casualties then found themselves at risk of being cut off by the incoming tide at Savage Hole as dusk fell.

The RNLI Torbay inshore lifeboat crew were tasked by HM Coastguard to assist and were able to recover the youths safely to the shore at Fairy Cove as darkness fell. The Border Collie, which had unfortunately broken three legs in the fall, was then retrieved by the RNLI volunteer crew using the special Coastguard ‘dog bag’ and safely transferred (along with its owner) to Paignton Harbour and the waiting HM Coastguard team.

One of the RNLI volunteer crew members involved reported that the injured dog was extremely brave and calm, barely making a sound despite sustaining such serious injuries. The dog and owner were in Torbay on holiday from the Somerset area, and - following emergency treatment with a local vet - subsequently returned home to obtain further veterinary care. The RNLI understands that the Border Collie is now thankfully recovering from its ordeal.


  • Photograph 1 shows the RNLI Torbay inshore lifeboat crew approaching the dog and owner on the rocky shoreline just before dusk
  • Photograph 2 shows the volunteer inshore lifeboat crew carefully placing the injured Collie into the lifeboat (contained in the HM Coastguard ‘dog bag’) as darkness fell

Photo credits: RNLI Torbay


Notes to editors

Torbay Lifeboat Station Key Facts:

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Victoria Bowen, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07794 043 428 - vicki_bowen@rnli.org.uk, or contact Amy Caldwell, RNLI Public Relations Manager (South) on 07920 818 807 - amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

RNLI/Torbay

Injured dog being loaded into RNLI Torbay inshore lifeboat at dusk

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland