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Volunteer firefighters rescue dog from cliff face near Nanaimo’s Ammonite Falls

Golden retriever falls 15 metres over cliff while walking with owner
A golden retriever rescued after falling over a cliff face near Ammonite Falls on Friday, Sept. 24, avoided injury in the ordeal and posed for a photo with rescuers including firefighter Joe Mayzes, left, Capt. Darcy Morgan and firefighter Geoff Gowans, volunteers with East Wellington Fire Department. (Photo courtesy East Wellington Fire Department)

Kona, a golden retriever, might be considered one lucky dog after it fell over a cliff but was rescued near Ammonite Falls in Nanaimo.

East Wellington Fire Department’s volunteer firefighters were called out shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, to come to the rescue of a dog that had fallen over a cliff at Benson Creek Falls Regional Park. When firefighters arrived they saw the pooch had fallen about 15 metres down, but had managed to land on a shelf that stopped it from falling the remaining 30 metres to the rocky creek bed.

Capt. Darcy Morgan, with East Wellington Fire Department, said the pet’s owner was walking the golden retriever off-leash when the dog spotted the water.

“She thinks the dog saw the water – they’re water dogs – and the dog wanted to go for a swim and went straight down,” Morgan said.

To get the dog off the cliff would require a rope rescue, but instead of calling in Nanaimo Search and Rescue, Morgan and his team rigged a harness and safety lines onto the winch of a side-by-side ATV they’d used to get to the site, and lowered Morgan down to the dog.

“It was a small miracle the dog ended up on the ledge it ended up on because when I got down to it I couldn’t get my feet into anything,” Morgan said. “It was unreal. If it as much as tried to turn around it would have been at the bottom of the creek bed.”

It took about three minutes, Morgan said, to lower him to Kona, but about another 10 minutes to winch them both back to the top of the cliff and safety. Morgan said it was no easy task to hold the heavy dog in his arms for the trip back up the cliff.

“I went down and basically wrapped my arms around the dog and we used the winch and the safety lines to pull us back up to the top … it was a very well-behaved dog,” he said.

Kona was reunited with its owner and did not suffer any reported injuries in the ordeal.

READ ALSO: Firefighter climbs into Nanaimo’s Abyss crevice to rescue another dog that fell in

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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