A man who was rushed to hospital with serious injuries after he jumped into a fast-flowing river to rescue his dog has died, police said. Witnesses saw the 46-year-old being swept away by the current after he leapt into the River Lemon in Newton Abbot, Devon, at 11.15am today.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said he was later spotted some distance downstream by police officers, who managed to retrieve him from the river. An air ambulance took him to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, but he was later pronounced dead. The dog managed to escape from the water unharmed.
The man had entered the water by the Asda store at Bakers Park but was rescued downstream near to the Tucker Maltings site, near the Brunel Industrial Estate. His family are believed to have been shopping at Asda at the time of the tragedy. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The man has been pronounced dead at hospital. His next-of-kin are aware."
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said the man had suffered "serious" injuries in the incident. In the wake of the tragedy police warned people against entering fast-flowing water "for any reason".
The man's dog was rescued from the water by members of the public, a spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said. Two appliances from Newton Abbot with the Specialist Rescue Team from Camelshead, along with the Urban Search and Rescue based at Clyst St George attended the incident.
"On arrival at the scene crews requested the attendance of the coastguard helicopter to assist with the rescue of the person and confirmed one dog had been rescued by members of public," the spokesman said. Fire Service used dry suits and throw lines when pulling the man from the water.