Drowning kitten saved from river after three hour rescue
Four Fire Brigade water rescue experts and an RSPCA inspector battled freezing conditions for three hours to save a kitten who had fallen into the River Wandle.
Last Thursday the tiny moggy, nicknamed Sparks, fell six feet from the bank, near Trewint Street, in Earlsfield, and was swept away down the ice cold river.
But the plucky puss managed to haul himself to an over-flow pipe where he took refuge.
The rescue was made even more difficult by the fast-flowing river and the lack of river bank, making the kitten hard to spot or save.
RSPCA inspector Esther Lincoln said: "Although our inspectors are highly trained to carry out all manner of rescues, we simply didn’t have the equipment or staff available to carry out such a dangerous rescue and the poor kitten was in grave danger,"
"It took several hours to get the necessary equipment and plan a rescue that didn't put people’s safety at risk unnecessarily.
"I was very grateful to the fire service for their help. It was one of those occasions where I am sure if I had tried to rescue the kitten alone they would probably have ended up rescuing me shortly after."
The Fire Brigade called out their specialist Water Rescue Unit who donned dry suits and entered the river by removing a 12-foot high section of fencing on the side of the river nearest the kitten.
They waded 20 metres through the water and crawled another eight feet into the water filled tunnel and grabbed the kitten.
The cat was taken to the RSPCA hospital in Putney where it was diagnosed with hypothermia, however it is expected to make a full recovery.
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