Monday 11 December 2017

Luca is 'one lucky dog' after cliff plunge

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE owners of a beloved pet dog have revealed it was "traumatised" but "remarkably" unharmed after plunging 200 feet down a cliff face.

Footage of the dramatic rescue of Luca, left, from the rocks below Howth Head in north county Dublin shows the Howth RNLI crew carrying to safety their unusual cargo.

Owner Matt Coffey, from Dunboyne, Co Meath, explained the family was just finishing a walk around the cliff edge when the dramatic tale unfolded.

"Luca suddenly lurched to the right and pulled me over the cliff edge and I fell over but not down," The dog, who was on a lead, became loose and ended up at the end of the cliff.

Mr Coffey said an "extremely helpful young man" from Liverpool then spotted Luca down among the rocks and directed him to his location.

"By pure good luck, the wife of an RNLI crew member happened to be passing by and rang the RNLI lifeboat station in Howth," he said.

Luca had plunged from the highest point of the cliff at the nose of Howth – in an estimated 200 feet freefall down on to the dangerous rocks below. It proved a challenging task for lifeboat helmsman Dave Howard, along with fellow volunteers Lorcan Dignam and Darryl Reamsbottom, to reach the pet.

"This was one very lucky dog," said Mr Howard, after they were alerted at 4.30pm on the sunny Sunday afternoon.

"It was a 200ft drop and we didn't expect to have such a happy outcome to this rescue. Needless to say, the owners were delighted to have Luca safely returned to them."

The dog's owners stood at the top of the cliff face guiding the rescuers towards their pet. It took around 30 minutes to bring him to safety as the crew climbed over the rocks.

"Luca is an English pointer and very old man of 12 which makes his surviving the fall even more remarkable," said Mr Coffey.

"The RNLI did a first-class job and the dog is remarkably okay, appearing only to have sprained its ankle, but it was traumatised."

The family expressed their thanks to the RNLI team, and to Deirdre Reilly, the wife of the Howth RNLI crewman, who acted as the rescue co-ordinator.

Irish Independent

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