Daredevil dog survives 100ft plunge after leap from viaduct

Lola with owners Rachel and David Riley. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Lola with owners Rachel and David Riley. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A dog owner has told of the moment she saw her Golden Labrador fall more than 100ft from a viaduct - and miraculously survive.

Lucky lab Lola was walking with owner Rachel Riley, 31, when she suddenly leapt over the wall of the 104ft-high Nidd Viaduct in Harrogate and disappeared into the depths of the river below.

Panic-stricken Rachel was convinced that her beloved 19-month-old pup was dead and frantically scrambled down the hillside to see if she could locate her pet.

Rachel and her husband Dave, 32, were able to locate Lola and they rushed the dog to a nearby veterinary surgery where they were told to expect the worst and to say their final goodbyes to their beloved dog.

But against the odds, Lola had managed to survive without suffering any broken bones, and having been successfully treated for collapsed lungs she was reunited with her owners in North Newbald, East Yorkshire, yesterday.

A relieved Rachel, who is employed as a social worker, said Lola would be “grounded” when she arrived home.

“We won’t be letting her out of our sight, she’s given us such a shock. I just can’t believe she survived the fall. She fell over 100 feet and she didn’t have a broken bone on her.

“She had a cut on her leg and the collapsed lungs, but it could have been so much worse.

“I can’t wait for her to be home, we’ve bought her a brand new bed and she’ll be thoroughly spoilt - but she’s grounded for scaring us so much.”

Rachel told how she and warehouse manager husband Dave were visiting her cousin Hayley Foster in Harrogate last Sunday when they decided to take Lola and Hayley’s six-month-old Labrador puppy Barney out for a walk at around 3pm.

“Lola was having a great time, she and Barney get on really well and we had walked about a mile from the car and were just about to turn back,” Rachel said.

“We were on this viaduct and suddenly, without any warning, Lola just ran toward the edge and jumped over.

“I was absolutely horrified. I ran to the edge but couldn’t see over it because it was about five feet tall. I’ve got no idea how Lola managed to get over it.

“I ran to the other side of the viaduct and looked downstream and I could see Lola’s little head above the water.”

She began frantic attempts to reach the prone pup.

“I couldn’t believe that she had survived the fall. I ran to the side of the viaduct and stumbled down the hillside, skidding the whole way down as I was so desperate to get to Lola.

“I could see her head bobbing along and could see that she was swimming, so I started running alongside the river as it flowed downstream.

“I was shouting her name, trying to encourage her to keep going but I wanted her to see that I was there so she would come to me and not go to the other side of the river.

“The river turned a corner and I couldn’t see her - and my heart sank. I thought she was gone. But when I turned the corner I saw her shaking, but alive.”

The vets who received the injured canine companion initially thought Lola had a ruptured diaphragm and told the couple to be prepared for the worst.

Rachel said: “We said goodbye to our little dog. I was heartbroken.”

But an operation to drain two litres of fluid was successful.

“On Tuesday they rang to say a second operation to remove the drain had been successful and she could come home,” said Rachel.

“She’s a lovely, lively dog with a great character and she’s been so brave - but we’re definitely going to be keeping her on a tight leash from now on.”

Rachel said she wants to raise awareness about the danger spot to avoid other dogs suffering from a similar incident. She hopes that warning signs will be put up in the vicinity to warn dog owners to keep their pets on their leads.