Hero boxer rescues man who plunged into river to save dog
- 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".
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.
"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.
"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.
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.