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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 15:56 GMT
Holidaymaker died saving her dog
A weir on the River Tryweryn
An off-duty fireman helped the couple when they got into difficulties
An inquest has heard how a holidaymaker lost her life after jumping into a weir in Gwynedd to rescue her pet dog.

Vanessa Williams, 30, from Bridgwater, Somerset, had fought to stay afloat in the fast-flowing river at Bala.

A passer-by is to be recommended for a bravery award for pulling out Ms Williams and rescuing her partner, who had fallen in trying to reach her.

Recording an accidental death verdict, the coroner said she had lost her life because of her love for her dog.

Although Ms Williams was a strong swimmer, she was pushed under the water by her golden retriever Jambo, and drowned.

The inquest at Prestatyn was told how the tragedy happened when Ms Williams, a secretary, was on holiday with her partner Peter Duckett last July.

It's clear Vanessa Williams lost her life because of her love for her dog.
Coroner John Hughes

Jambo was fascinated by the fixed yellow balls which bounced in the whirlpool, and let off his lead, he ran into the weir trying to reach them.

Ms Williams immediately went into the river Tryweryn after Jambo.

She then jumped into the weir itself, which the inquest heard water pours into at the rate of 19 million gallons a day from the Llyn Celyn reservoir.

Mr Duckett told how he tried to rescue his partner with a couple of dog leads but they were not long enough to reach her.

He was leaning on a concrete ledge and the next thing he remembered was going over the weir and into the water.

Mr Duckett, who cannot swim, fell unconscious and then remembered lying on the bank in the recovery position.

His partner, who had been due to start a university occupational therapy course in September, was lying behind him before she was flown to hospital by air ambulance.

'Heroic' behaviour

Coroner John Hughes read a letter by Mr Duckett praising a passer-by who went to the couple's aid.

Justin Hollins, 31, a postman and part-time fireman from Bala, had shown incredible bravery and selflessness, first pulling him unconscious from the water, and then Ms Williams, the letter said.

"I will always be at his debt because he put his own life at risk for two people he didn't even know", " Mr Duckett wrote.

The coroner said Mr Hollins' behaviour had been "heroic" and he would recommend him for a Royal Humane Society award.

Mr Hughes said Mr Hollins had saved one life and did his absolute best to save a second, while risking his own.

He said he was sure that Ms Williams did not comprehend the fearsome force of the water when she went to save her dog, who survived.

"It's clear Vanessa Williams lost her life because of her love for her dog. It's desperately sad," Mr Hughes said.

Dog rescue woman who died named
14 Jul 05 |  North West Wales


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