‘We thought he was gone’: Man (77) rescued at sea after trying to save dog

Glynne Jones thanked Coast Guard after he got trapped in gully in west Cork

After the Irish Coast Guard Team got Glynne Jones ashore, they helped him to the ambulance parked a few hundred metres away. File photograph: Irish Coast Guard

After the Irish Coast Guard Team got Glynne Jones ashore, they helped him to the ambulance parked a few hundred metres away. File photograph: Irish Coast Guard

 

A pensioner has thanked an Irish Coast Guard team who rescued him from treacherous seas after he got caught at the foot of a 15-metre cliff while trying to save his dog.

Glynne Jones (77), a retired analytical chemist, said he would be forever grateful to the Old Head/Seven Heads Irish Coast Guard team in west Cork who rescued him from the sea and to his wife Eve who raised the alarm.

The couple had been out for a clifftop walk between Garretstown and Garrylucas beaches near their home in Ballinadee in West when their dog, 13-year-old Bandit, slipped off the cliff and fell into the sea at Blue Horizon.

Mr Jones managed to make it to where the cliffs were lower and made his way down to the shoreline to look for Bandit but was forced into a gully-like inlet by the incoming tide only to end up trapped there with waves breaking over him.

“It was very, very lucky that I got out of there alive – if the Coast Guard were 10 minutes later, I wouldn’t be here. I was so glad to see them – I am immensely grateful to them, they were superb,” he told The Irish Times.

Eve Jones explained how she had to run for nearly half a mile back to the roadway to get a phone signal to raise the alarm after she realised that her husband was in trouble when he got trapped in the gully by the incoming tide.

“Glynne was in a huge amount of danger – he was in the water for 45 minutes – it’s a very long time and they were going to call a helicopter if it had taken any longer but the Coast Guard were brilliant and we owe them so much.”

Mr Jones said the time seemed to pass very quickly as he was looking for Bandit at all times after spotting him in the sea but he was forced back up the rocky inlet or gully by the force of the incoming tide and some powerful waves.

“I was searching for Bandit all the time and the sea was driving me backwards into this gully but I couldn’t find him and of course, I couldn’t get out of the gully because of the force of the sea,” he said.

Waves

Mike Murray from the Old Head/Seven Heads Irish Coast Guard team revealed that it took them a while to actually find the inlet where Mr Jones was trapped but when they did, their first thought was to attach a rope to him.

“The minute we got there we threw down a rope to him and he tied it around himself so at least we had some attachment to him in case he was knocked by the water but he was being forced into the very top of the inlet all the time.

“All you could see was surf and foam around his waist but it ended up around his shoulders and by the time he ended up at the top of the inlet, big waves of foam were coming in and covering him clean over, you wouldn’t see him at all.

“Things were getting very serious so we decided we would have to pull him up manually – it would have taken too long to go back and get all the equipment but at that stage we had about 10 volunteers on scene so we hauled him up.

“At one stage, one of the waves knocked him off his feet and he struck his head and we thought he was gone because he went down under water and you could feel the surge of the sea pulling on the rope but he got up again.”

After the Irish Coast Guard Team got Mr Jones ashore, they helped him to the ambulance parked a few hundred metres away and the walk helped warm him up before he was treated for hypothermia by paramedics in the ambulance.

Emergency Medicine Consultant Dr Jason van der Velde examined Mr Jones at the ambulance and, satisfied he was okay, gave him the go-ahead to rejoin his his wife and they returned home but without Bandit, who was sadly lost at sea.

“I’m doing fine,” said Mr Jones on Thursday. “But our house feels very empty with Bandit gone – everything reminds us of him – physically I’m fine even though the emotions are a bit high but I am so grateful to the Coast Guard.”

Mike Murray admitted that Mr Jones was lucky to be saved and to emerge from his ordeal without serious injury. “Glynne was very lucky – things worked out well for him and for us and it’s nice to get a good outcome like this.”