Owners praise for rescuers who saved pet dog on cliff ledge

The grateful owner of a dog that got trapped on a cliff has praised rescuers.

Franko the Jack Russell cross fell down a steep cliff at Blackhall and got stuck on a ledge.

Christina Wilson's grandchildren (from left) Dushane, Oscar, twins Coby and Donte and Beth with Franko.

Christina Wilson's grandchildren (from left) Dushane, Oscar, twins Coby and Donte and Beth with Franko.

After three hours he was rescued by members of Seaham Coastguard and reunited with his owner Christina Wilson.

Christina, from Peterlee, decided to take Franko for a walk on Sunday afternoon with her five grandchildren Beth, 10, Oscar, eight, Dushane, six and four-year-old twins Coby and Donte.

But he made a dash when off his lead near a picnic site.

Christina said: “We had had our dinner and I said to the kids we will go and take the dog for a walk.

“I hadn’t been to Blackhall for years and it was a lovely atmosphere.

“We were walking along and he was let off the lead.

“The dog just darted to the top of the cliff and fell down onto a ledge.

“It was really high. He was barking but he couldn’t see me.

“I was frightened in case he was going to fall.”

The family made their way down on to the beach where they could see Franko perched on a ledge around 20-30 feet from the top.

Christina added: “I could see him up on the cliff. He was on the legde but he wasn’t able to get back up because he is only little.

“I was shouting ‘stay’, stay’.”

Hartlepool Coastguard were called to the area just after 2.30pm after the alarm was raised.

The team were joined by colleagues from Seaham Coastguard who launched a rescue mission.

A cliff technician was lowered on a rope to the family pet with an animal bag to recover him and tried to tempt him with some dog biscuits.

Christina and the children watched nervously from the beach below.

“They tried to coax him into a bag they had and as Franko kept running backwards little stones and rocks were falling off,” she said.

“They managed to put him in the bag and brought him down on a rope.”

Christina was full of praise for the rescuers for saving Franko.

She added: “They were absolutely fantastic and they were brilliant with the children and the dog.

“He is a lovely little dog and we all love him to bits, but I didn’t expect that to happen when we went out.

“He slept all that night. I will not be going up there again.

“I have learned a valuable lesson not to take your dog off the lead if you are up there.

“But he is safe and that’s the main thing.”