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‘Extremely lucky’: teen and pup OK after slide down B.C. embankment

Lengthy rescue operation extracts pair after rocky, 200-metre plunge near Elko
12 firefighters and seven SAR members rescue a man and his dog, following a fall down a steep embankment. RDEK

A teen and his dog are safe after falling an estimated 200 metres down an embankment in southeastern British Columbia and landing just shy of a river.

Elk Valley and South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Chief Michael Hockley said the teen was with friends on Monday around 10 p.m. when his dog slipped over the edge of an embankment at a popular gathering spot near Elko, B.C.

In an attempt to rescue the pup, he also lost his footing and slid down the “sandstone-like” material before landing within metres of the Elk River, Hockley said.

The chief said the boy was “extremely lucky” not to have been more seriously hurt in the fall.

“Everybody was quite surprised. They were serious injuries but they’re non-life-threatening as far as we know,” he said.

Hockley said the boy’s friends called 911 after he fell and rescuers were able to speak to him on his cellphone while they formulated a plan.

The chief said the fire rescue gear was not long enough to reach the pair, so search and rescue was dispatched out of nearby Fernie with longer ropes and more technical expertise.

The challenging save took until about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning and involved 12 firefighters and seven search and rescue members along with RCMP and paramedics.

Crews had to be careful not to knock additional loose rocks or debris off the cliff as they made their way down, Hockley said.

“Fernie SAR are the ones that sent their technicians down, and it took them a while to get down to the patient, just due to the nature of the terrain and how unstable it was,” he said.

“Fernie SAR did an awesome job conducting the rescue with our members assisting them on the top side.”

Hockley said the dog, a shepherd variety, was shaken up but uninjured, and stayed with the boy during the entire ordeal.

A statement from the Regional District of East Kootenay said the young man sustained multiple non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital for further assessment.

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