A man is said to be lucky to be alive thanks to a dog that alerted its owner to his distress in the water (GAFIRS/PA)
A man who got into difficulty in the water is said to be “incredibly lucky” to be alive after a barking dog alerted its owner to the danger on the south coast of England.
The man, aged in his mid-50s, fell from a tender at Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport at around 8pm on Saturday.
He was in the water for half an hour, having drifted around 300 metres towards Millennium Bridge due to the strong tide.
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.
The man, believed to be local to the area, shouted for help and was only spotted thanks to a passer-by who was walking their dog, according to James Baggott from Gosport and Fareham Inshore Lifeboat Service (GAFIRS).
He said the dog walker had dialled 999 after being alerted to the situation when his dog became distressed and would not stop barking while crossing the bridge.
Speaking about the rescued man, Mr Baggott 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 coastguard sent a marine police unit, coastguard rescue team and GAFIRS to help and when the lifeboat arrived on scene, the police were pulling the man from the water.
He was suffering from the effects of hypothermia, Mr Baggott said, and was released after being checked over by paramedics in an ambulance.
The incident was the seventh of the year for GAFIRS, an independent lifeboat service, which is based at Stokes Bay in Gosport.