bull mastiff
The rescue operation for the bull mastiff type dog involved three fire engines from Whitefield, Bury and Eccles and a specialist water incident unit also from Eccles - Representational Image Wiki Commons / MIB90210

A bull mastiff type dog that fell into the River Irwell in Radcliffe was saved after firefighters launched a major rescue operation on Tuesday (5 December).

The dog's owner reported the incident, which took place close to the Church Street/Blackburn Street, around 2pm to the local authorities.

Watch manager Tony Wellock from Whitefield Fire Station said that the dog had escaped from its owner and had landed in the shallower part of the river upstream.

"Our understanding is that the dog had been owned by this man for about one week and had legged it from its owner's house, who was on crutches, and who subsequently reported it being in the river to emergency services," Wellock said, according to the BuryTimes.

The firefighters used a long ladder to get to a culvert ledge where the stranded dog was half submerged in the river.

Wellock said that "The whole operation took about 40 minutes, before the wet, but otherwise unharmed dog was reunited with a relieved owner."

"We were called at 2.01pm to rescue an animal from Church Street. The crews used a 9-metre ladder to rescue the dog who was in the river. Crews were on the scene for 40 minutes," a Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said.

An eyewitness told the website: "I was on my way to pick up my son and saw four fire engines on Blackburn Street, Radcliffe, so had a look.

"A crowd of about 50 people were looking over the bridge and one told me that a dog had fallen into the river."

The rescue operation involved three fire engines from Whitefield, Bury and Eccles, and a specialist water incident unit also from Eccles.