RNLI hovercraft crew rescue sheep chased into sea by dog

A sheep was rescued from Leasowe Beach by Hoylake RNLI hovercraft on Monday 24 July after being chased into the flooding tide by a dog.

The sheep’s farmer had called the Coastguard to raise the alarm and seek assistance as he planned to rescue the distressed animal. Hoylake RNLI hovercraft Hurley Spirit was requested to launch by HM Coastguard at 2.29pm.

The hovercraft launched with her volunteer crew and soon arrived on scene alongside the Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team and RNLI Wirral Lifeguards.

They agreed with the farmer that the safest option would be to take him and his sheepdog on the hovercraft across the tidal gutter to attempt a rescue on the sandbank.

The hovercraft crew flew the farmer and his dog onto the sandbank, which was quickly becoming covered by the tide, and together they were able to swiftly recover the sheep. It was brought on board the hovercraft and flown back to the safety of Hoylake Lifeboat Station.

Hoylake RNLI volunteer Emily Jones comforted the sheep alongside the farmer and sheepdog after the rescue. Credit: Hoylake RNLI

Hoylake RNLI hovercraft crew member Emily Jones said, “It was a close shave for the sheep on what can be a dangerous area of beach, but we were glad we could help the farmer and his dog in bringing the animal to safety.

“If you see an animal in difficulty at the coast, it may be tempting to attempt a rescue but you may also be putting yourself at risk in the water. Always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard, who can best advise on any steps to take or can task the appropriate emergency services.”

The incident was also the first hovercraft shout for Hoylake RNLI volunteer Dave Mackenzie. Dave said, “Being part of the crew is a great experience and this was certainly a memorable situation. Not only was it my first shout, it was also the first time the hovercraft crew had rescued a sheep!

“Our aim is to save lives at sea and it was privilege to work alongside an experienced crew that shows care and compassion in rescuing people and animals alike. We assessed and planned the rescue in a unique situation for us all, ensuring the safety of the farmer and his animals. A great result!”

Main image: The sheep was rescued after being chased into the flooding tide by a dog. Credit: Hoylake RNLI

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