A man has been left traumatised after witnessing three geese dragged underwater by a mysterious creature in the Lake District.
Wayne Owens, who works on the lake in Ullswater near Howtown, is begging people to keep their children and dogs out of the water after claiming to have seen the animals pulled to their deaths in two separate incidents on consecutive days.
Social media users have been speculating about what could be lurking under the water, with some suggesting a large catfish or even a crocodile.
But a spokeswoman for the Lake District National Park Authority said an investigation has uncovered nothing unusual.
Mr Owens, 61, who regularly swims at the lake, said: “I was on the Steamer and this grey lag goose was taken from the top of the lake and dragged backwards and it was not to be seen again. We kept watching and it didn’t come back up.
“It was full size maybe 10 to 12 pounds it was flapping furiously and it couldn’t get away from whatever had it. The next day I saw two smaller ones get dragged underwater and my skipper witnessed this as well.”
When Mr Owens told his skipper about what he witnessed he said he had never seen anything like that on the lake before but he did believe him. The pair then saw an almost identical incident the next day.
Mr Owens told LancsLive : “I was talking to the skipper when another two small grey lags maybe 5lbs each and they could not fly properly were dragged under. They had separated from the flock and ran across the water.
“The first one was taken down immediately, My skipper who has 36 years of experience was with me and said he had never seen any goings-on like it. Within 15 seconds the second one had been taken.”
He refuses to go back into the water and thinks a crocodile may have been released into the lake.
“When I have spoken to people about it they have said that a pike would have to be 50-60lb to drag a fully grown goose down and they would normally jump on top,” he continued. “I think something has been released into the water and when I have spoken to people about it, they have said it could be a crocodile or a catfish. Some people think I’m mad but I have nothing to gain from this.”
Mr Owens added: “It traumatised me. I want people to stay out of the water with their children and small dogs and I would like the Lake District National Park Authority to put some signs up warning people that there is something in the water.”
A spokeswoman for the Lake District National Park Authority told LancsLive: “We are aware of the alleged incidents involving geese on Ullswater. Our Lake Ranger team patrolled the area over the weekend and did not see anything out of the ordinary. The Environment Agency is also aware.”
The identity of the underwater creature has been speculated on by social media users.
One wrote: “Pike are the sharks of freshwater. Many fishermen will tell you Swans, ducklings and many water birds fall victim to them it’s nature. You can get large Catfish too. These fish will grow to very large specimens in lakes. It’s their domain. It’s common all over the country in rivers and lakes for large Pike to take down birds. Just don’t let small dogs swim in there.
“It’s nature it’s their territory. Of course occasionally you will get irresponsible people releasing foreign species in to lakes and rivers.”