Both Lifeboats from Sunderland RNLI were in attendance at ‘Cat and Dogs’ beach this afternoon after it was reported two people and a dog had become cut off on the beach and cliff wall by the rising tide.
Sunderland’s smaller D-class Lifeboat arrived on scene first along with the coastguard team from Sunderland arriving by land. At this point it was realised there was one person, believed to be the dog’s owner on the promenade, a dog cut off on the beach being battered by increasing waves and one individual on the cliff wall above. The coastguard quickly made contact with the dog’s owner encouraging him not to attempt to enter the water.
After Sunderland larger Atlantic 85 Lifeboat arrived on scene, both boats had to standby as the coastguard were able to encourage the other individual off the cliff wall and on to the promenade further south and on to safety.
All this time the black Labrador was still trapped at the base of the cliff, on a decreasing amount of sand with the tide still rising, Ben Mitchell Crewman at Sunderland Lifeboat said ‘On the lifeboat we were constantly trying to formulate a plan to try and rescue the dog but there was a lot of risk involved in the majority of our options which would put our crewman in danger. We continued to liaise with the shore based coastguard team who continued to update us on the dogs condition and the waves on the beach while we negotiated the breaking surf in the bay.’
Also arriving on scene at this time were Fire and Rescue teams from Tyne and Wear including their rope rescue teams. Ben continued,
‘We informed the coastguard and fire teams we would be willing to assist should a line rescue become possible,’
The Fire and Rescue team prepared and started a descent into the bay to try and recover the dog who was still battling as waves started to wash over it. As the fire-fighter came over the edge of the cliff the dog started to get washed around by the waves.
‘One particularly large wave seemed to pick up the dog and wash it further towards the promenade, at this point we became increasingly concerned as the waves seemed more violent in that location. However, the two coastguard officers on the promenade were able to then coax the dog to swim towards them and effect an excellent rescue of the dog up onto the safety of the promenade’ Ben said
using a safety line one coastguard officer made his way down the promenade with the waves crashing around him before getting the dog to safety.
After all teams were safely accounted for and the dog safely away from the water both the Lifeboats were stood down and returned to station.
The Crew at Sunderland RNLI would encourage all members of the public to call 999 and ask for the coastguard should they see any person or indeed their pets in trouble on the coast; please do not try and rescue them themselves. They would also encourage members of the public to make sure they stay clear of the dangerous waters if they see incidents unfolding on the coast, many spectators of today’s incidents were very close to the crashing waves.