In a tragic story, a deer was reported to the coastguard as it swam four miles from the Isle of Wight to the coast of Hampshire only for rescuers to arrive too late, finding the animal drowned after members of the public launched their own bungled attempt at a rescue.
The buck, around three-years-old, had made the epic journey and reached dry-land around 10am but returned to the water shortly afterwards, possibly because it was afraid of the large crowd that gathered to watch it. At the time the RNLI began to tail the deer trying to keep other boats and members of the public away while also organising a proper rescue attempt.
However, when the coastguard left the scene to arrange the pickup of an animal rescue specialist they returned to find the deer had already drowned. Members of the public in another boat had attempted their own rescue while the coast guard were away, and in an attempt to lasso the deer and lead it to dry land they caused it to panic and grow exhausted, eventually leading to its drowning.
The coastguard still pulled the deer onto their own vessel and attempted CPR, but by that point it was already too late. The deer died despite making a truly heroic attempt at survival by crossing a four mile stretch of water.
The animal rescue specialist spoke to reporters, saying:
“I had my grasping equipment ready, equipment we use for dogs and deer in that environment and the RNLI came and picked me up. Unfortunately then some members of the public in another boat tried to lasso it.
“That was a great shame because if they’d left it alone it would probably have been fine. The key with animal entrapment is to back off and be quiet. The RNLI pushed me up alongside and I grasped it and pulled it onboard,” he said, “I gave it CPR and tried to get it back, but it was gone.
“I encompassed the animal’s nose with my hand, creating a tube, and I pumped the water out of it, grasped it by its nostrils with my fists and lightly inflated it. But it had taken on far too much water and had gone. It’s worked on goats and sheep before now and I’ve got them back, but not today.
“If only that member of the public had not got involved.”
Meanwhile a spokesman for the RNLI told reporters:
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that if they find an animal in danger, difficulty or distress, please call 999, state your location and wait for the appropriate emergency service to help.”