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Barking dog alerts owners to man who had fallen off boat into ocean in UK

Portsmouth, England
Posted at 11:35 AM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 13:40:36-05

Officials in Gosport, England, say a man's life was saved last weekend after a dog alerted its owners to a man who had fallen out of a boat and into the local harbor.

According to Portsmouth News, the man fell from a small transport vessel while boating near Royal Clarence Marina. A strong tide pulled the boater nearly 1,000 feet down current toward a nearby bridge. Officials said the man was then able to grab hold of a post in the water.

As he struggled in the frigid waters, a woman and her husband were walking their dog on the nearby bridge. The two said they would not have noticed the man if Poppy, their cockapoo, had not "just suddenly started barking."

"When she stopped I could hear somebody shouting for help so I called the Coastguard," the woman told the BBC.

The woman called emergency services. They alerted the Coastguard, which immediately dispatched a marine police unit and a rescue team. They also dispatched the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Lifeboat Service (GAFIRS).

When Coastguard officials arrived, the dog owners assisted by shining a flashlight towards the man in the water. After pulling the man into a lifeboat, rescuers treated him hypothermia.

"He was incredibly lucky," GAFIRS coxswain James Baggott told the BBC. "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."

Baggott made clear that Poppy and the dog's owners played a vital role in helping save a life.

"He was swept away from the tender and left clinging to the pile," Baggott said. "If the dog walker hadn't raised the alarm the consequences could have been very different."