[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 11:56 GMT
Cliff fall dog survives unscathed
Bella the Staffordshire bull terrier
Bella was chasing seagulls when she fell down the cliff
A dog has survived virtually unscathed after plunging 200ft (60.96m) down the side of a cliff in North Yorkshire.

Bella, an 18-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, lost her footing and fell down a sheer cliff face while chasing seagulls in Hawsker, near Whitby.

Coastguard teams abseiled down the cliff and searched in the dark for 40 minutes before the animal was found - shaken but otherwise unhurt.

Her owner, David Sneap, said it was "unbelievable" Bella had survived.

Mr Sneap, of Whitby, said: "I was walking along a stretch of the Cleveland Way, the dog was off the lead at the time.

"She saw one or two gulls and headed towards them, she got a little bit close to the cliff and lost her footing and ended up rolling down to the bottom of the basin.

David Sneap points to the cliff
Mr Sneap said he would keep Bella on a lead in the area from now on

"It seemed to take an age for her to reach the bottom and on the way down I just thought that was it, I had lost the family pet, and she would be severely injured or dead.

"It's fantastic that she came out of this unscathed, it's unbelievable."

Since her ordeal, Bella has been kept on a lead during all cliff top walks.

Andrew Nugent, of Whitby Coastguard, said the dog had been "extremely lucky" and warned other dog owners to keep their pets on leads while walking along cliff tops.

"Literally one step in the wrong place and the dog is going to go all the way down", he said.

"The dog must have gone 100ft down a virtually vertical cliff, below that it is a very steep slope with some soft mud on it.

"She was completely and utterly unscathed, and quite pleased to see us as well when we got there."

Bella the dog enjoying 'walkies'

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific