A dog spotted in difficulty in the middle of Diss Mere has died despite a brave rescue attempt by a town council worker today.
Town council maintenance manager Robert Ludkin spotted the Springer Spaniel dog and contacted the police and fire service. But worker John Hanser, concerned for the animal, decided to swim out to try to save it.
I know I shouldn’t have tried, but I couldn’t leave the poor thing out thereJohn Hanser
The dog was pulled under and Mr Hanser was then brought out safely using a life buoy.
The local owners of the pet have been informed and were at the scene. It has prompted a warning from the town council to keep all pets on leads around the Mere.
The spaniel had managed to swim out as far as the fountain in the middle, before it drowned.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to the dog in time.” said Deputy Town Clerk Sarah Richards. “Our sympathies are obviously with the owner.
“This is a very rare incident, there are life-buoys around the Mere in the event that anyone did fall in.
“We’re very relieved that John is safe, and despite encouraging him to get some rest, he was determined to complete his shift.
“Although we don’t advocate people diving in the Mere, John acted on instinct and we applaud his bravery in trying to save the poor animal.”
“I’m just upset,” said Mr Hanser this morning: “I love Springer Spaniels. I thought, if I can get him, I will.
“I know I shouldn’t have tried, but I couldn’t leave the poor thing out there.
“You do these things, and I thought he was close enough to get, but he turned around and paddled off. It was so cold, I thought, I can’t get to him, and sure enough he went under.”
It is thought the dog has escaped from a family home.
A spokesperson for the council said while the Mere looks shallow, it is very deep, with thick mud and strong currents beneath the surface.
They added it was a dangerous body of water and there are signs around the Mere, warning people of the dangers.
Diss Town Council has offered its “sincerest condolences” to the family.