Advice from the coastguards

Dog survives cliff plunge
Dog survives cliff plunge

A dog which leapt from Seaford Head and miraculously survived the 55-metre fall without a scratch on her was rescued by Seaford Lifeguards.

Clare Callard was out for a walk along the cliff tops about 30 feet away from the edge with her terrier Lola when the dog chased a bird and plunged into the sea.

Newhaven Coastguard station officer Trevor Cutler said this was the first time had seen a dog survive falling from the cliffs in the 23 years he had been a coastguard.

He used the opportunity to remind people to keep their dogs on a lead when walking along the cliff tops.

Newhaven Coastguard is called to two or three cases a year where a dog dies jumping over the edge when off the lead.

Chairman of Seaford Lifeguards Pete Gwilliam said, “The dog’s lucky escape was due to the state of the tide, as it had fallen clear of the cliff and into the sea, and then managed to get on an inaccessible shingle beach east of Splash Point.

“Lola, once in the care of her owners, was rushed to a local vet who pronounced her miraculously uninjured but with just a little water that had entered her lungs.

“The close co-operation between ourselves and our colleagues at Newhaven coastguards brought a successful end to the incident, however, owners do need to use a lead when walking dogs on the cliffs.”

The Saturday morning stroll on Seaford Head on May 25 turned into a successful rescue by Seaford Lifeguards.

Distraught Clare telephoned the Coastguard and the call, intercepted by Seaford Lifeguards, saw beach lifeguards Ian Jones and Chris Payne rush to the animal’s assistance.

Meanwhile Clare’s two children, Joseph and Jessica, aged nine, and her husband Steve, were flying a kite in a nearby field, unaware of the drama which was unfolding.

Guided by a boat just offshore, and co-ordinated by Newhaven Coastguard, Ian used a surf rescue board and quickly paddled to the dog’s assistance.

He was helped by lifeguard Chris who returned the small dog, alive to its owner.

Clare, 47, of Quarry Road, Seaford, said, “She’s absolutely fine. She’s been playing with other dogs.

“It really is an absolute miracle. We are so delighted. She is everything to us. We love her and she is part of our family.”

Clare thanked two members of the public, Ron and his wife, who stopped to help and stayed with her, as well as the Lifeguards and Coastguards for rescuing Lola.