Hero boxer rescues man who plunged into river to save dog

Boxer Ben Poole rescues man and dog from River Yare in Gorleston

Passer-by Ben Poole stripped to his vest and boxers to plunge into the River Yare in Gorleston on Saturday (May 21) at around 2.35pm ahead of a Legends boxing event he was taking part in at the Ocean Room. - Credit: Ryan Hunt

A man who saved a dog and its owner from drowning said it was "fight or flight" as his boxing skills kicked in.

Ben Poole had just parked up along Gorleston's riverside ahead of a Legends boxing event being staged at the Ocean Room on Saturday (May 21) when he heard "a commotion".

Passing river pilot boat plucks three people from the River Yare in Gorleston

A man and his dog were plucked from the River Yare in Gorleston after Lowestoft boxer Ben Poole plunged in to save them. The boat had just sailed a ship out and was returning when it noticed people waving and trying to get its attention. - Credit: James Moughton

Initially he thought a child had gone in, but when he saw a man and his dog struggling while his distraught family looked on in helpless horror he stripped off and jumped in.

"There was a split second fight or flight," he said.

"Because of all the training I have done since being a child and then being a coach you think on your feet fast.

Ben Poole came out fighting after saving a man and his dog from drowning in Gorleston

Fighters from Lowestoft Boxing Academy celebrate success at the Dave Munro Legends night which went ahead after fighter and coach Ben Poole (far left) plunged into the river to save a man and his dog. - Credit: supplied by Ben Poole

"I am 110 miles per hour anyway. I wasn't thinking about me, there was a human being there with a dog and there was a little girl crying.

"She is going to lose her dad, I had to help as he was in trouble.

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"He was trying to be calm for his family, but he was frightened and cold.

"He did thank me and said he should have known better but I said I would have done the same thing, that was why I was there with him.

Ben Poole who saved a man and his dog from drowning at Gorleston

Ben Poole in action in the ring. The 36-year-old is a volunteer coach at Lowestoft Boxing Academy. He said he owes everything to boxing and that the sport gave him the skills to think on his feet and react quickly as he did at the Gorleston river rescue on Saturday May 21, saving a man and his dog. - Credit: suppled by Ben Poole

"It was just an instinct."

Once in the water Mr Poole, 36, a father of seven who lives in Lowestoft and is a volunteer coach at Lacey's Gym at Lowestoft Boxing Academy, said he put his arms under the man and supported the dog, all the while offering reassurance.

"I told him he could relax and let his arms go," Mr Poole said.

"I am fit and strong and how on earth he had held on I do not know. I can see why people drown, it was hard after a minute and a half."

He said he was in the water for three to four minutes before a passing pilot boat - summoned by people waving on the quay - came and picked them up.

Gorleston pilot boat picks up two men and a dog in river rescue drama.

A dog sparked a river rescue after it bolted into the River Yare at Gorleston. Its owner and Lowestoft fighter and boxing coach Ben Poole who plunged in to save them were picked up by the pilot boat which was passing at just the right time. - Credit: James Moughton

It is thought the dog called Arlo bolted after seeing a fisherman catch an eel.

Back on dry land there was ripple of applause for his actions from bystanders who hailed his bravery.

Mr Poole also appealed to the man - who he thinks is from Haverhill in Suffolk - to get in touch. "It would be really nice to meet him and give him a warm embrace.

"To see him do that for his dog, I was really touched," he said.