Multiple search and rescue facilities were mobilised by Milford Haven Coastguard when a dog became lost off the dangerous cliffs at Brean Down
On the norming of Sunday 12th April a man and woman were walking their dog on the top of Brean Down, the high promontory between Burnham on Sea and Weston-super-Mare which reaches out into the Bristol Channel. The dog went missing and the owners were concerned that it had gone over the high cliffs. They called for help which was coordinated by Milford Haven Coastguard. The local Burnham Coastguard volunteers and the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB) volunteers started searching along the Down. The Coastguard then tasked Burnham RNLI lifeboats to search along the water’s edge at the south of Brean Down.
While this was happening Weston-super-Mare RNLI volunteers were launching both their lifeboats on their normal Sunday morning training exercise. They heard over the radio that a search was taking place and responded to Milford Haven Coastguard offering their help to search the north side of the down.
The four lifeboats searched both sides of the Down and in the water near the shore. At one stage two crew members for Weston and two members from Burnham were put ashore to search the shoreline beneath the cliffs, an area fairly inaccessible from the land. It was here on the south side of Brean down near the seaward end where the Burnham crew discovered the dog. It was a spaniel type cross, was wet and cold and had a laceration from its fall down the 40 foot cliff. The Weston crew joined the Burnham crew and it was decided to extract the dog using the Burnham D Class lifeboat. However this had technical problems and so the Weston D Class went in and picked up the dog and one crewman. It then proceeded to Burnham beach where the dog and its owner were reunited. The Weston lifeboats then continued on with their Sunday morning exercises.
Nigel Congram, the helmsman of the Weston D Class lifeboat said;’ it is always rewarding when we can achieve a satisfactory conclusion like this. We only rescue animals to avoid their owners getting themselves into trouble trying to rescue them. All we ask is that people are very cautious when walking their dogs near cliffs.’