Watch cheering crowd celebrate dramatic dog rescue from the River Arun in Littlehampton

An over-zealous dog that became stranded on the bank of Littlehampton’s West Beach has been rescued by the RNLI.

Paul Edge, 52, said he went for a walk along East Beach with his wife, Sandra, when they sat down overlooking the River Arun.

A car pulled up on the opposite side just after 6pm, he said, and a group with two dogs got out.

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Their excitable animals ran at full pelt towards the river and one went flying over the side, said Paul, as though ‘it was running in a field’.

Pasha was stranded on the banks of the River Arun SUS-210331-164827001

“The way it went in, it was just unbelievable,” he added. “To actually see it all happen in front of us, we were like ‘is this real?’”

With the tide going out, the stricken pooch – revealed to be named Pasha – managed to haul its way back to the west bank and scramble onto some shingle, but was still trapped at the base of a wall several metres high.

Paul said it became distressed at first, jumping and trying to climb up the wall towards its panicking owners.

At this point a small crowd gathered on the opposite bank to call the RNLI and reassure the understandably despairing owners.

The stranded dog was rescued by the RNLI SUS-210331-161647001

They, in turn, leant over the wall to reassure their dog, which eventually calmed down and waited for help to arrive.

Within 20 minutes an RNLI lifeboat was hurtling down the Arun and the crew soon managed to safely get the dog on board.

The crowd went wild, Paul said, cheering and clapping as the dramatic incident reached its happy ending.

“With what’s going on at the moment, to see that the RNLI – who I’ve got great respect for – come and rescue the thing was amazing,” said Paul, who is from East Preston.

The stranded dog was rescued by the RNLI SUS-210331-161637001

“And for people to come out to the barrier and be cheering and clapping, it was just a nice heart-warming story in the end.”

Jon Prater, Deputy Launching Authority for Littlehampton RNLI, said: “As lockdown eases and the weather improves more people are visiting the wonderful beaches at Littlehampton. The River Arun is a fast flowing river and we would advise keeping dogs under close supervision in its environs. If a dog does become trapped or is struggling against the current, rather than put themselves in harms way we would always ask members of the public to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”