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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Barrow man stranded out at sea is saved by his pet dog

A DOG owner’s “lucky star” came to the rescue when he was stranded out at sea.

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IMPRESSIVE: Star, an Alsatian, helped to save her owner’s life HARRY ATKINSON

Crews from Walney Coastguard were called out to Earnse Bay on Wednesday night after a member of the public rang 999 and reported seeing a man with his dog trapped by the incoming tide.

When the coastguard crew arrived on the scene, they discovered an Alsatian dog, called Star, in the water and pulled her into their boat. But a distressed Star kept trying to get back into the water which, the crew discovered, was to alert them to her owner Colin White who was still in the sea.

Dennis Laird, spokesman for Walney Coastguard, said Star had saved her owner’s life.

Mr Laird said: “This was one very lucky man, with three fortunate points working in his favour. Firstly, it was very opportune that he was spotted by the first informant; secondly, his dog wanting to go back in the water suggested that the other of the two objects visible was indeed a person and not a rock or seal as was first thought; and thirdly, to survive for over an hour in water that is still very cold at this time of year is incredible.”

The crew was assisted by Duddon Inshore Rescue, paramedics, police and an RAF Sea King helicopter, which transported Mr White to Furness General Hospital with suspected onset of hypothermia. Mr Laird also thanked Gary Powell from North West Kitesurfing at Earnse Bay for providing facilities while Mr White was treated by paramedics.

He added: “The man had injured his knee and he was semi-conscious in about six or seven feet of water. He had a rucksack on his back which had helped to keep him afloat.

“The dog was OK, she was a bit frightened and it took us a while to get hold of her and calm her down.

“But if she hadn’t alerted us to her owner, things might have been very different.’’

Star was taken to Barrow Borough Council’s dog kennels at North Scale and was expected to be reunited with Mr White last night following his discharge from hospital.

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