ROYAL SUSSEX COUNTY, United Kingdom – A schoolgirl was saved from a 60ft plunge from a seaside cliff edge after a Staffordshire bull terrier sensed her distress and refused to leave her side until help arrived.
The trembling 14-year-old girl was sat on the clifftop near Rottingdean in Sussex when Max, a six year old Staffy spotted her and ran over.
Owner George Conner, 46, said: ‘Max started to act oddly – he’d spotted something on the other side of the fence.
‘Being the nosey guy that he is, he started whining and pulling on his lead. I could see a shape and thought it might be some rubbish, but when we got closer I saw someone was sitting up there on the cliff ledge.’
Mr Conner, who didn’t have a mobile with him, said: ‘Max went and sat beside her.
‘I wanted to approach the girl but I didn’t want to say the wrong thing so I decided I would go home to call the police.’
On his way down from the sheer precipice, Mr Conner saw an off-duty security guard sitting on a bench and asked him to call the police.
He said: ‘We didn’t approach her as we didn’t want to scare her, and the police arrived quickly.
‘The officers went over to the cliff edge and tried to get her attention but she wasn’t moving. So they decided to pull her through the fence and away from the edge.
‘She wasn’t really coherent. It looked like she was suffering from hypothermia and the police said her eyes were rolling back into her head.
‘It’s anyone’s guess how long she had been up there. She was sitting on a part of the cliff where, if she had passed out and fallen, she would have died.
‘A police officer came up to me and said, “you’ve saved her life”, but I said, ‘no I didn’t, it was Max who found her’.
‘I shocked when a police officer revealed her age – my own daughter is 16. Seeing something like this makes all of your problems feel obsolete.’
Mr Conner, who has owned Max since he was six months old, said: ‘He’s got a great temperament and is a very friendly dog who is always ten steps ahead of the game. If I’m ever ill he always notices. I don’t know if I would have found her without him.’
A Sussex Police spokesman said ‘At 6pm on Monday, February 11, police were called to the cliffs at Rottingdean, opposite West Street, after concern had been notified about a girl sitting on the cliff edge.
‘Two officers attended and found the 14-year-old girl who appeared to be unwell.
‘They quickly moved her away from the cliff edge and she was taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital for assessment and treatment.’