Missing puppy saved in dramatic helicopter rescue
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
Published Friday, April 8, 2011 2:30PM PDT
Search and rescue teams performed a dramatic helicopter rescue Thursday to save a missing and stranded puppy -- 15 days after the beloved pet went missing in B.C.'s North Shore mountains.
An aerial team from North Shore Rescue was called out in the early afternoon after someone spotted the 18-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog – Hurley – on the a heavily wooded trail in North Vancouver. Hurley's family paid for the rescue.
Two team members were flown in by chopper to an area near Mosquito Creek, and lowered into the valley by a long line around 1:30 p.m. Footage captured from CTV's Chopper 9 shows the men narrowly avoiding snow-capped tree branches and rocks to reach the ground.
Searcher Tim Jones said he found the dog by the creek, where he had a strong hunch the animal would be.
Searchers emerged from an area clogged with rocks and flowing water a little less than 20 minutes later with the pup strapped into a large harness between them.
The top of Hurley's head poked out of his restraints as he flew alongside searchers dangling by the single rope. The group was whisked to a waiting launch area at the Cleveland Dam, just south of Capilano Lake.
Hurley was wagging his tail happily just moments after being set down on the ground and let loose.
The pup walked gingerly as he was brought back to his waiting owner, Darwin Schandor, who gave him a big hug and a pat on the belly upon seeing his long lost companion.
"We are the happiest family in the world right now," Schandor said. "He's a little skinnier for sure, but we're going to fatten him up real quick."
A long way home
Schandor was on vacation in Maui on March 24 with his wife Tracie and their two children, aged 8 and 10, when they found out that their $45 a day pet service had lost the 18-month-old pup on the Baden Powell Trail.
Tracie said her family had used the agency in the past because it uses GPS tracking collars – but they didn't use the tracking device on this outing, saying her dog had always exhibited good behaviour on mountain hikes.
Despite several paw prints found in snowy trails, and daily searches by the Schandors and other area residents, there had been no sign of the dog for more than two weeks. The family also commissioned a helicopter sweep of the area to no avail.