Dog, Hiker in Dramatic Cliff Rescue

Dog slips down sheer cliff chasing bottle, owner goes after her

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 29, 2011 11:52 PM CST | Updated Dec 30, 2011 12:02 AM CST

(Newser) – Los Angeles firefighters saved a hiker in a hair-raising rescue after the teen went over a sheer cliff to save his terrified dog. Ivan Salas' year-old shepherd mix, Lola, slipped 150 feet over the edge as she chased a water bottle tossed by Salas' dad while the men were traveling on a rugged ridge in the northeast section of the San Fernando Valley. Firefighters determined a helicopter rescue was too dangerous, so rescuers rappelled down to harness Salas and Lola, and guide them off the cliff. Rocks "were hitting me in the face and my dog, too, and then my dog started panicking. She was going crazy. I just grabbed her tight,” Salas, 19, told KABC TV in LA.

"It was extremely scary," he added. " I don't know what I was thinking when I went down. It's not just a dog, it's family and my best friend at the same time, so I had to do it." Dog and owner clung to the crumbling cliff for nearly two hours until they were saved. Both were unhurt. Salas was grateful to firefighters, but plans to hike again soon. And if his dog needs saving, he'd do that again, too.

Los Angeles firefighters rescued  Ivan Salas and his dog from a cliff in a rugged area of the northeast San Fernando Valley.
Los Angeles firefighters rescued Ivan Salas and his dog from a cliff in a rugged area of the northeast San Fernando Valley.   (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)
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