Family's relief as Jet the labrador survives 100ft fall down cliff
The owners of a black labrador rescued by the coastguard said it was a miracle the dog survived a 100ft fall over a sheer cliff face.
Jet the dog fell 50ft over the Causeway coast cliff after the long grass at the edge gave way underneath him.
The six-year-old dog then hit the cliff face on the way down before falling another 50ft to where he finally landed.
His left rear and front legs were broken in the fall and he also sustained a cracked rib and a bruised chest.
The much-loved family pet is now recovering at a Co Antrim vet's from surgery to mend his two broken legs after he was rescued by the Coleraine Coastguard on Saturday afternoon after the alarm was raised.
Belfast couple Pat and Donald Eakin were taking their son Rory's dog for a familiar walk from Dunseverick to Causeway and back when the accident happened.
Mrs Eakin said they believe that Jet was in search of a drink when he plummeted down the cliff into brambles and undergrowth.
Their anxiety over the possibility of Jet being killed in the fall was heightened as Rory (23) had lost his first black labrador dog Ace in a horrific car accident seven years earlier. Mrs Eakin said: "I just thought how are we going to tell Rory that his next dog has fallen off a cliff and was dead.
"We couldn't believe that the dog survived, it was just amazing."
Mrs Eakin said she and her husband were returning from their walk when Jet fell.
"We lay down and inched our heads over the cliff to peer over but couldn't see anything. We knew we would have to go down and try to find him."
She explained that where Jet went over at Port Moon, there was a track down to the sea as well as a bothy which was being used by a group of kayakers. The couple frantically searched up and down the cliff for over two hours without success.
"One of the kayakers contacted the coastguard as they were concerned that we might slip during the search," Mrs Eakin said.
One of the coastguard team pulled Jet out of a hole and slid down the cliff with the dog on his chest while another took his high-visibility coat off and made it into a sling. The coastguard had already alerted nearby vet Liam McCullough that his assistance was needed.
Mrs Eakin said: "I would really like to thank the man who helped spot where Jet was lying and all the members of the coastguard for helping to rescue Jet."
Ballymoney vet Mr McCullough said that Jet's condition was stable.
He said: "It was incredible that he didn't die from falling over the cliff. He is still recovering from surgery but hopefully he'll make a full recovery."