UPDATE: Barnstaple ‘river jumper’ was most likely a dog.

The search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor hovers over the centre of Barnstaple during Wednesday

The search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor hovers over the centre of Barnstaple during Wednesday rush hour after fears someone had jumped into the river. - Credit: Archant

Search called off after police say paw prints found near where ‘a splash’ occurred suggested an animal had gone into the river near the Taw Bridge and not a person, as first reported during today’s rush hour (Wednesday).

THE search for someone who had jumped into the River Taw in Barnstaple has been called off after nothing was found.

A police spokesman told the Gazette further questioning of a witness who thought they had seen someone jump into the river at around 5.20pm today (Wednesday) revealed they may have seen ‘a splash’ rather than a person.

“Crews went to the area and found paw prints, indicating it may have been a dog or something similar, rather than a person,” he said.

“It was a call of good intent, but on further investigation it was not quite what it seemed. The fire and coastguard are happy with the searches they have done.”


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People stuck in rush hour traffic looked on earlier as the RAF search and rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor circled the area around the bridge and boats scoured the river, while coastguard teams looked along the banks.

Twitter was abuzz with people on their way home wondering if someone had fallen in and asking what the drama was all about.

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There was no sign the suspected dog had been injured or drowned after its river plunge.

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