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Deer swims from Isle of Wight to mainland before being killed when man tries to lasso it

The Independent logo The Independent 17/07/2018 Tom Embury-Dennis

a cow standing next to a body of water © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A deer which swam four miles from the Isle of Wight to the Hampshire coast died after a man attempted to lasso it in a bungled rescue attempt.

The roe buck clambered ashore near beachgoers in Southsea on Sunday morning, but soon returned to the water and swam 200 metres off-shore.

A Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) dinghy followed the deer while coastguards secured the nearby beach and alerted a local animal rescue expert, the fire service said.

But before authorities were able to bring the animal ashore, members of the public in a passing boat attempted their own rescue effort by lassoing the three year old deer. The distress to the animal led it to drown.

Anton Phillips, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s animal rescue expert, hauled the deer out of the water before attempting in vain to bring it back to life using mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions.

Mr Phillips told The Independent he believed the deer had swam across a calm stretch of water from the Isle of Wight, with a tide helping carry it across. 

He saw the deer swimming “quite happily” when he was first called to the scene, before a man attempted a rescue attempt in the five minutes it took for the coastguard dinghy to pick him up and return to the scene.

“I think he was trying his hardest to rescue this deer, which he should not have done, because he didn’t have the equipment and he was trying to lasso it,” he said. “And I think in doing it the deer probably rolled, and it went down.

“By the time we got to it, it was absolutely underwater. I managed to just about grasp it right underwater – it was on its way down.

“We got it onboard and I gave it CPR. I pumped its chest, I pumped lots of water out of it. I gave it a couple of breaths to see if it would come back… unfortunately the deer didn’t make it.”

His message to anyone who might see a deer at sea was to “stay away” and contact authorities trained to do the job.

In a statement, the fire service said: “We'd 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.”

It added: “Sometimes the best intentions end in disaster."


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