HOPE, B.C. - Duke the police dog is being hailed as a hero by his handlers for tracking a missing man along a swollen and frigid river to a cave in British Columbia's Fraser Valley.

RCMP say a 26-year-old man was reported missing around noon Wednesday while visiting the Othello Tunnels near the community of Hope.

The Mounties called out Duke, who led his handler from the nearby Abbotsford police department along a dangerous, mountainous, two-kilometre riverside track.

They say about an hour later, Duke found the man hiding in a cave in the Coquihalla River, and the water level was quickly rising because of heavy rainfall.

The man was taken into custody and police say he was returned safely to a hospital.

Had it not been for Duke, police say the situation could have had a grim ending.