Man plunged 150ft to his death after trying to rescue puppy from cliff
Published 10/09/2013 | 16:09
A man who plunged 150ft to his death over a cliff with a girlfriend who was left seriously injured was trying to rescue their adopted puppy at the time.
Rhys Clark, 27, and his Polish-born girlfriend Ania, 25, slipped over the cliff edge trying to save mongrel Sherlock at a beauty spot in Bridgend, south Wales.
The one-year-old pet, adopted from an animal welfare shelter two months before, had tumbled down on to a precipice from the cliff top during a walk.
The couple's courageous rescue efforts ended in tragedy when all three fell to the bottom of the cliff killing Mr Clark and the dog.
The coastguard, emergency teams and a rescue helicopter were all quickly scrambled but Mr Clark was declared dead at the scene.
His girlfriend miraculously survived and was taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff, suffering multiple fractures which included a broken pelvis and leg.
She remains in hospital but is expected to make a good recovery.
The tragedy happened on August 31 at Southerndown beach, on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, on a sand and pebble bay overlooked by dramatic cliffs.
Mr Clark's grieving mother Janet, 64, paid tribute to her "wonderful son" today and revealed how he had always wished to adopt a puppy.
"One of the things Rhys always said he wanted to do was to rescue an abandoned puppy and give it a good home," she said in an article in the Swansea Evening Post.
"He and Ania loved the little dog and took it for walks along the cliff-tops at weekends.
"My son would still be here if it wasn't for the dog but I can't look at it like that.
"I had the most wonderful son, I don't know what I'm going to do without him. I just hope he didn't suffer."
She said the couple were planning to marry and settle down and have children in the Herefordshire countryside where he had always wanted to live.
The location of the tragedy is popular with walkers it has been used as a backdrop in Doctor Who including episodes Army of Ghosts and Doomsday in 2006 and other films.
Mr Clark, who grew up in Velindre, near Brecon, mid Wales, studied engineering at Cardiff University where he met his girlfriend three years ago.