A hiker's dog slid off a 40ft cliff – and a complex technical rescue ensued

Hiker with dog on mountain
(Image credit: Getty)

A whole team of specially trained firefighters have carried out a complex rescue operation to save a dog stranded on a tiny cliffside ledge at the weekend.

A hiker was walking with his four-legged friend in Killingworth, Connecticut, when the pair slipped down a 40ft cliff. Details of the person's condition haven't been revealed, but presumably they were relatively rescued because local Killingworth Volunteer Fire Co soon focused on the dog, enlisting help from nearby Guilford Fire Department (GFD).

The animal had become stuck on on a small outcrop partway down, and was unable to escape. The two fire departments couldn't reach it easily via conventional means, so instead planned a technical operation.

"Busy day for D-Shift yesterday," GFD posted on Facebook the following day. "Guilford Professional Firefighters responded for mutual aid to the town of Killingworth for assistance with a high angle rope rescue. Guilford Professional Firefighters are specially trained in many specialized emergency capabilities including high angle rescue."

The steeper the terrain, the more difficult a rescue becomes. A high angle rescue involves a slope angle of 50 degrees or more. They can include cliffs and buildings, as well as underground and confined locations such as caves and tunnels.

When the high angle specialists arrived, they were able to set up a special rope system to rescue the dog, and lower it safely to the ground.

Posted by guilfordfiredepartment on 

Hiking with your dog can be good for both of you. letting you get valuable exercise together and strengthen your bond. However, it takes more care and planning than a humans-only hike. You need to plan your route carefully to include only routes where dogs are permitted, and bear in mind its level of fitness and experience.

Keeping dogs on a leash is mandatory on some trails, but even if there are no official rules, it may be safer to keep them leashed on coastal and cliffside paths as well. For more advice, see our complete guide to hiking with a dog.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.