1. ITV Report

Somerset dog survives falling nearly 1000 feet

Somerset dog survives falling nearly 1000 feet Photo: RNLI

A miracle dog has survived falling nearly 1,000ft off one of Britain's tallest cliffs - before spending more than a week clinging to a rocky ledge. Rescuers say Sprig, a nine-year-old springer spaniel, survived days without food and water - by licking moisture of rocks and moss.

Sprig vanished while his owners Mark and Susie Sanderson, both 50, admired the view from Foreland Point in north Devon. The distraught couple organised search parties and put up posters as they hunted their missing pet.

But he was finally located eight days later by a passing lifeboat crew who went to the help a stranded sheep and spotted Sprig marooned on a tiny outcrop 30ft from the bottom of the towering 991ft headland.

The volunteer crew of Minehead's Atlantic 85 class boat climbed up to find the lucky pooch tired, hungry but completely unharmed. He was lowered on to their ship and taken to safety before RNLI officials put out an appeal on Facebook for his owners, who responded within hours of Sunday's rescue.

Susie Sanders is a farmer from Wheddon Cross, Somerset.

We were looking at the view for maybe two or three minutes, and he was gone. We called the dogs and the terrier popped up beside us, but no spaniel. We never saw him go and didn't hear anything.

We've been for walks along that coast many times and he's never done anything like this before, it's very out of character. We think probably he must have chased a pheasant, that's the only reason we can think he would have gone down there.

He was found on one of the few places where it's very steep above and below, making it very difficult for him to get off. No one knows exactly how he got there. He was a bit leaner maybe he had no marks on him at all.

He was eventually found by the RNLI when they were on a training exercise. They couldn't have looked after him any better.

– Susie Sanders

Minehead RNLI had taken the boat close in to the cliffs after noticing a sheep that was trapped. They were just turning away to leave when a crew member saw movement and looked up to see Sprig peering down on them.

We went in as close as we could and then we could see it was a dog.

It was about 30 feet above the water and we couldn't work out how it had got in that position.

He had clearly been there for some time because he was licking water off my dry suit. And he did seem rather pleased to see us.

– Andrew Escott, Helmsman