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Dog keeps injured hiker alive in the Alps

rescuers go to stranded hiker
Rescuers go to the aid of a hiker stranded for seven days in the Italian Alps (Image credit: CNSAS)

An injured hiker survived seven days stranded in freezing conditions in the Italian Alps by covering himself in leaves and cuddling his dog for warmth.

Michele Benedet, 33, fell down a gully and broke his ankle, among other injuries, while on a four-day solo walking trip in the Julien Alps.

He was reported missing by his girlfriend when she became worried that he had not returned home.

Rescuers from the region's Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps set off by helicopter the following day (last Thursday) and found Benedet, who is from Trieste, northeast Italy, in a pass in the Venzonassa Valley.

They had spotted "a metallic flash", which turned out to be a "thermal cover", about a hundred metres away from Benedet. CNSAS reported he was lying on the ground near a forest trail. 

rescue of injured hiker in alps

A rescuer at the scene in the Italian Alps (Image credit: CNSAS)

dog and rescue

The small dog, Ash, helped to keep his owner warm (Image credit: CNSAS)

A report by Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Friuli Venezia Giulia-CNSAS revealed the hiker had managed to drag himself close to a water stream. It continued:  "There he spent seven nights in the mountains in the cold, injured.

"To keep warm, he had covered himself in leaves as well as his topographic map and he also relied on the company of his little dog, Ash, to survive. Still, he was thirsty and hungry."

Benedet had been unable to phone for help due to poor reception in the area.

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.