Woman’s river drama after dog plunge

Dorset Echo: LUCKY ESCAPE: Annette de Rohan with her dog Fonzinella LUCKY ESCAPE: Annette de Rohan with her dog Fonzinella

A PENSIONER feared she would drown after trying to rescue her dog from the swollen waters of a river.

Annette de Rohan found herself up to her chin in water and unable to get out of the River Asker at Bridport after a section of the bank gave way near the weir in Asker Meadows.

Now the 73-year-old is asking why there are no warning signs and fencing at the fast-flowing stretch of the river, which was high after torrential rain.

Mrs de Rohan, who lives in Beaminster, had left her 83-year-old husband Raoul at a nearby Morrisons store, was walking her nine-month-old Briard puppy Fonzinella in the meadows on December 28.

The young dog had been playing alongside the river, but when another dog bounded over it slipped on the muddy bank and went into the churning deep water by the weir off South Mill Lane.

Mrs de Rohan said: “She couldn’t get out as it was very steep and slippery and then she got tied up with the overhanging brambles as she frantically tried to get out.

“She was whimpering and then she went under twice.

“I went down the grassy part of the bank to try and get her out but the whole side of the bank crumbled underneath me and I was in the water up to my neck.

“My flat waterproof boots filled with water and my anorak was waterlogged and I couldn’t put my feet down. I yelled and yelled for help but I was under the overhang of the bank so no-one could see me.

“The water was up round my nose by then but I just tried one more time to touch the bottom and thank goodness I got a foothold.”

To Mrs de Rohan’s relief, the owner of the other dog finally heard her cries for help from 300 yards away and ran back to help. He managed to pull her and the dog to safety.

Soaked through and deeply shocked but otherwise unhurt, Mrs de Rohan made her way back to her car.

“I am fit and a good swimmer but there was nothing I could do,” she added.

Town council leader Coun Sarah Williams said she was sorry to hear of Mrs de Rohan’s experience.

“The town council will look in to the matter and will be talking to the Environment Agency,” she added.

Comments (11)

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12:11pm Thu 2 Jan 14

MattWey77 says...

Glad to hear that the lady and dog both ended up face and sound.

However I don't see why the river needs fencing or signs. People should always be alert and aware of the potential dangers of (fast) flowing water. Given the water levels were higher than normal one would expect additional care to be taken.

It sounds like the puppy was hardly been looked after properly if it was allowed off its lead so close to the water it was able to slip in. When will people start to take responsbility for their actions?
Glad to hear that the lady and dog both ended up face and sound. However I don't see why the river needs fencing or signs. People should always be alert and aware of the potential dangers of (fast) flowing water. Given the water levels were higher than normal one would expect additional care to be taken. It sounds like the puppy was hardly been looked after properly if it was allowed off its lead so close to the water it was able to slip in. When will people start to take responsbility for their actions? MattWey77

12:16pm Thu 2 Jan 14

ino69 says...

Yup, lets fence off all rivers, cliffs, ponds and paddling pools incase people can't work out that water may be hazardous. How about having your dog on a lead near 'fast flowing'rivers, or cliffs? What do you want the signs to say? Warning, this area may contains fools?!
Yup, lets fence off all rivers, cliffs, ponds and paddling pools incase people can't work out that water may be hazardous. How about having your dog on a lead near 'fast flowing'rivers, or cliffs? What do you want the signs to say? Warning, this area may contains fools?! ino69

12:22pm Thu 2 Jan 14

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

In addition all roads should be fenced off to prevent unwary pedestrians from crossing when there is traffic on the road!
In addition all roads should be fenced off to prevent unwary pedestrians from crossing when there is traffic on the road! IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE

2:00pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Bridders says...

Does this woman not have an ounce of common sense !!!! Why should rivers be fenced off. The river was swollen due to the amount of rain we have had, she could blatantly see the potential danger posed by the conditions and should have kept a safe distance.
If she really NEEDED to walk her dog by the river in such conditions, then the dog should have been kept on a lead and would have been in control.
In situations such as this, common sense seems to be readily forgotten.
Does this woman not have an ounce of common sense !!!! Why should rivers be fenced off. The river was swollen due to the amount of rain we have had, she could blatantly see the potential danger posed by the conditions and should have kept a safe distance. If she really NEEDED to walk her dog by the river in such conditions, then the dog should have been kept on a lead and would have been in control. In situations such as this, common sense seems to be readily forgotten. Bridders

2:06pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Dorset Boy says...

ino69 wrote:
Yup, lets fence off all rivers, cliffs, ponds and paddling pools incase people can't work out that water may be hazardous. How about having your dog on a lead near 'fast flowing'rivers, or cliffs? What do you want the signs to say? Warning, this area may contains fools?!
Typical, blame the Authorities for not catering for brain dead fools and their dogs
[quote][p][bold]ino69[/bold] wrote: Yup, lets fence off all rivers, cliffs, ponds and paddling pools incase people can't work out that water may be hazardous. How about having your dog on a lead near 'fast flowing'rivers, or cliffs? What do you want the signs to say? Warning, this area may contains fools?![/p][/quote]Typical, blame the Authorities for not catering for brain dead fools and their dogs Dorset Boy

4:07pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Get a grip says...

This woman is so stupid she has gone back to the river
This woman is so stupid she has gone back to the river Get a grip

6:55pm Thu 2 Jan 14

bollywood says...

Just another irresponsible dog owner. These owner put lives at risk because they cannot be bothered to take appropriate action regarding the conditions.
Just another irresponsible dog owner. These owner put lives at risk because they cannot be bothered to take appropriate action regarding the conditions. bollywood

7:15pm Thu 2 Jan 14

westbaywonder says...

Im sure the local harbourmaster would be only too keen to advise the lady,
He has previous experience of Dogs and water!!
Im sure the local harbourmaster would be only too keen to advise the lady, He has previous experience of Dogs and water!! westbaywonder

8:26pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Get a grip says...

Also she put someone else in danger as they had to help her
Also she put someone else in danger as they had to help her Get a grip

12:27am Sat 4 Jan 14

firelighter says...

I'm glad she survived, but come on. Only days before, 2 dog owners drowned and the dogs survived. When will people learn?. What happened to common sense? Let's put warning signs every 15 feet along kerbs warning of a step down. How about fencing off all roads? People should take responsibility for their actions and stop holding others responsible for their stupidity.
I'm glad she survived, but come on. Only days before, 2 dog owners drowned and the dogs survived. When will people learn?. What happened to common sense? Let's put warning signs every 15 feet along kerbs warning of a step down. How about fencing off all roads? People should take responsibility for their actions and stop holding others responsible for their stupidity. firelighter

11:36am Sat 4 Jan 14

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

She has even got herself in a national newspaper today but doesn't tell the world how stupid she is for letting her dog loose near a river and expecting rivers to be fenced off!
She has even got herself in a national newspaper today but doesn't tell the world how stupid she is for letting her dog loose near a river and expecting rivers to be fenced off! IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE

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