Dog and owner rescued from frozen Washington pond with throwline - rescue crews issue safety advice after incident

A dog owner and his pet were helped to safety from frozen water thanks to a throwline and help from Tyne and Wear Firefighters.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 11:54 am

As the man prepared to enter the frozen water to rescue his dog from Washington’s Mount Pleasant Lake, members of the public called Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and used the throwline to help him.

The man was able to hold on to the throwline while entering the pond and made it back to safety before firecrews arrived.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Peter Heath praised the on-lookers who had helped the man: “Fortunately this incident was not a tragedy, thanks to the members of the public who called us and used the throwline correctly and our white watch Control Room staff,” he said.

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The Mount Pleasant Lake throwline board

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But he urged people not to copy the owner’s actions: “When walking near frozen water, keep your pet on a lead at all times and stay away from the water’s edge,” he said.

"If your dog does enter the water, do not go in, move to somewhere the dog will be able to climb out and call them.

“If you enter cold or frozen water there’s the very real danger of cold water shock which can be fatal and the risk of more people putting themselves in danger to come to your rescue.”

The throwline boards at Mount Pleasant Lake and Pattinson South Pond in James Steel Park, Fatfield were put in place in February 2020 as part of Water Safety Partnership with Sunderland City Council, in addition to an existing board at Fatfield riverside, installed after the death of 22-year-old Ross Irwin in December 2016.

Throwlines are secured in a lockbox which can be opened with a code available by dialling 999 and speaking to the emergency services.

Coun Tony Taylor, Councillor for Washington East and Chairman of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, who campaigned for and helped fundraise for the throwline, added: “This rescue shows the valuable contribution throwline boards can make at locations like this alongside existing water safety measures.

“I’d also like to praise the quick-thinking members of the public who sprang into action and used the throwline to rescue the dog owner and his dog – they did a brilliant job and potentially helped save a life."

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