Man rescued from rough sea after jumping in to save dog

A dog owner has been dramatically rescued from a rough sea after he jumped in to save his pet.

Curtis Johnson, 33, was left "shaken" after he got into difficulty while attempting to save his dog Rex, who had jumped off the sea wall along Cromer promenade in Norfolk.

Volunteer crews from the RNLI raced to rescue the pair on Saturday morning as powerful waves threw them around close to the sea wall.

Footage filmed by a local angler shows the 33-year-old clutching his dog as he is battered by the waves.

A Cromer inshore lifeboat speeds towards the pair and volunteers throw a life ring to Mr Johnson, who is repeatedly engulfed by the water.

The man and dog are later pulled on to the lifeboat.

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Speaking after the incident, Mr Johnson said he was not familiar with the area and had briefly let his dog off the lead. Rex then unexpectedly jumped over the sea wall and fell into the water.

"I can only think he thought it was like one of our local beach walking spots where the sea wall and the sea are the same height," Mr Johnson said.

He said his dog has "excellent recall" but had jumped "so quickly".

"I was really panicked and it was a passerby who told me to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and not just jump straight in. I entered the water as safely as I could and got to Rex however it was clear it wasn't going to be easy to get out," he said.

The situation quickly devolved as Mr Johnson realised the strong waves had cut him off from the promenade steps and the tide moved in quickly.

Mr Johnson thanked the volunteer crew who saved him, saying it was a "super fast response" and that one of them had been woken by the pager going off.

"Rex and I are ok but very shaken by our experience and I want my story to help others to make the right choices and stay safe at the coast," he said.

One of the rescuers, Paul Watling, said it was a "challenging rescue" and things "could easily have ended differently".

"We strongly urge people not to enter the water to attempt a rescue when a dog enters the sea. The animal will usually return safely on its own. On these occasions the best advice is to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard," he said.