South West Wales

Man saved by Mumbles RNLI lifeboat thanks puppy Wilson

A swimmer rescued by an inshore lifeboat after being spotted in difficulty by a crew member's dog has visited the RNLI to thank the puppy.

Mike Raikes from Penarth said feared he was going to drown after being caught in a rip tide close to Mumbles lighthouse near Swansea.

Luckily lifeboat crew member Richard Absalom was walking 14-week-old Doberman puppy Wilson on the beach.

When Wilson alerted him to Mr Raikes he was able to launch the lifeboat.

Wilson, who does not like water, ran to the sea and started barking in the direction of the swimmer.

Mr Raikes, 41, who is training to compete in a triathalon, said he went for a swim near the lighthouse not realising the current was so strong.

"All kinds of things flashed through my mind. I thought of my kids and for a while I thought I was not going to make it," he said.

While he was struggling against the current he did not know he had been spotted by Wilson from the shore.

Mr Abaslom, who has had the puppy for less than eight weeks, said Wilson went to the water's edge and started barking in Mr Raikes direction.

If he had not done so the lifeboat man said he doubts he would ever have seen him.

Rocky outcrop

He rushed to the nearby lifeboat station and along with colleagues launched the inshore lifeboat.

Image caption Wilson went to water's edge and started barking altering his owner to a swimmer in difficulties

When they reached Mr Raikes he was clinging on to a rocky outcrop on an island.

"My instinct was just to swim to the island as hard as I could," said Mr Raikes who runs a health shop.

"I was in a panic at the time. I was running out of breath.

"My arms were like jelly. My legs, everything. Then the shock set in. I was so pleased to see the lifeboat."

He said he was unaware of the part Wilson had played in his rescue until his mother saw a news report the following day.

"I was so happy when I heard - it brought a tear to my eye - it's incredible."

He said it was the second time he had been rescued by a dog.

Two years ago he said he went out for a walk on a sunny day in the Black Mountains when the weather quickly changed and he was lost in a whiteout.

"A sheep dog came out of nowhere I followed him down the mountain," he said.

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