Man and Dog in Solent Rescue Drama

Lifeboats News Release

A man and his dog were the subject of a dramatic Solent rescue this afternoon, involving Cowes RNLI lifeboat, a Coastguard helicopter, and on-shore Coastguard teams.

Mark Harker, Helm, with the rescued dog by his knee.

RNLI/George Chastney

Mark Harker, Helm, with the rescued dog by his knee.

The alarm was raised when a man was reported to be in difficulties while trying to rescue his dog in strong currents off the popular Lepe beach between Beaulieu River and Calshot. Although the man managed to struggle, exhausted, ashore - apparently with the help of a kayaker - the lifeboat was tasked with trying to locate the dog, a small collie-type said to be blind because of cataracts.

'Eventually he was pinpointed by the hovering Lee-on-Solent helicopter, some 200 metres offshore,' said lifeboat helm Mark Harker. 'When we got near him I jumped into the sea and pulled him to the boat to be hauled aboard. By that time the dog, called Fly, was very tired and could not have lasted much longer.'

After reuniting the dog with his owner the lifeboat then went offshore again to pick up a paramedic, lowered from the helicopter. He was then taken to the beach to carry out an assessment of the dog’s owner, and concluded he had sufficiently recovered from his ordeal not to be taken in the waiting ambulance to hospital.

Also on the scene were onshore Coastguard teams from Lymington and Southampton.

The lifeboat, which launched at 2.20 pm, arrived back at station just over 30 minutes later.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.