Cockapoo’s barks help save man who had fallen off boat into the sea

Cockapoo's barking helps save man from drowning Picture: @royalclarencemarina METROGRAB
The man got into trouble in the water at the Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport

A man is ‘incredibly lucky’ to be alive after he was saved from the sea when a dog spotted him and would not stop barking.

The cockapoo, named Poppy, was the hero of the hour at the Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport on Saturday. The man, in his 50s, had fallen from a boat and drifted for 300 metres in a strong tide towards the town’s Millennium Bridge. He had been in the water for around 30 minutes when Poppy and her owners were crossing the bridge and the dog immediately became distressed.

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The man, believed to be local to the area, was shouting for help and finally managed to catch the attention of the passers-by.

‘(Poppy) just suddenly started barking, when she stopped I could hear somebody shouting for help so I called the coastguard,’ the pet’s owner – who wishes to remain anonymous – told the BBC.

‘My husband had a flashlight and shone it out but we couldn’t see anything – we could just hear him calling.’

The woman said when the coastguard arrived: ‘They asked us to keep the torch shining and they went out looking for him.’

Police pulled the man from the water and he was treated for hypothermia.

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James Baggott, from Gosport and Fareham Inshore Lifeboat Service (GAFIRS), said: ‘He was incredibly lucky. Being in the water for 30 minutes at this time of year, in a storm force gale with the sea temperature as it is, he was very lucky to survive.

‘He was swept away from the tender and clinging to the pile and if the dog walker hadn’t raised the alarm the consequences could have been very different.’

The incident was the seventh of the year for GAFIRS, an independent lifeboat service, which is based at Stokes Bay in Gosport.

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‘We were just so relieved to hear he had been rescued,’ Poppy’s owner said.

‘It was just fortunate that we were there at that time. – how frightened he must have been.’

She said that the dog had been spoiled with treats when they got home and the family had taken to calling her ‘Lassie.”

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