Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Helicopter Rescues Man and Dog from Bodega Head Cliff

A man and his dog were rescued by helicopter from a Bodega Head cliff this weekend! I was out of town and missed all the action but I was not at all surprised when I heard the news. In fact I'm amazed it doesn't happen more often.

The newspaper reports didn't say exactly where it happened, but the photo above gives you an idea of just how close the trail runs to the edge of those cliffs (click to enlarge the photo) and in many places, it's a sheer drop down to the jagged rocks below. I've blogged about the hiking trails on Bodega Head before, you can see more photos here. It's often extremely windy out on the Head and I've marveled that people aren't blown off the cliffs on a regular basis.

In this case, it appears Bella, a one year old black labrador, fell off the edge and was stuck about 150 feet above the water. Bella's owner, 50 yr. old Gary Webb of Elk Grove, clambered down to rescue her and then he got stuck about 10 feet above her. Gary's wife was waiting above with their other dog and it took 40 minutes before she was able to flag down a passerby to summon help.

At last, the Sheriff’s Department helicopter, Henry 1, arrived on the scene. Using a long line and harness, they saved Bella first because she was in the most precarious position, then Gary. It must have been an incredible sight and I would have loved to have seen the rescuers in action. Miraculously, everyone escaped uninjured from the ordeal.

Bodega Head offers spectacular ocean views and is a gorgeous area to hike, but it is rugged and you have to exercise caution. Certainly keep dogs leashed (it's the law anyway) and don't get so darn close to the cliffs.

For more information:
Press Democrat
Sacramento Bee

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Anonymous said...

I wonder what the bill was for the rescue. It would have been interesting to watch the rescue. I'm glad it had a happy ending.

Anonymous said...

We're lucky to have Henry 1 in our community!

Kathlene said...

Yes, it must have been an amazing sight, I'm sorry I missed it. I'm very grateful for Henry 1!

Anonymous said...

There would be no bill for the rescue. Henry 1 rescue helocopter is a free service to anyone needing rescue in sonoma county. You and I pay for the rescue fee through taxes.
State parks and Bodega Bay Fire were also there to assist and would have made the rescue via rope rescue if henry 1 was unavailable.
1 side note: dogs are not allowed on bodega head.

Kathlene said...

I've seen signs on some of the Bodega Head trails that say "No Dogs," and on other trails the signs just say they must be on leash. They appear to be allowed on-leash on the trail that takes off toward the left/south from the end of the parking lot.

Dana said...

Incredible story! Good thing there's cell coverage out there now! Who knows how long it would have been to get help otherwise.

Nick Dimond said...

Love your blog!!! Keep up the great work... There are often Seal rescues at Bodega Head, but this is the first Black lab rescue I have heard of. Nice to see all family members rescued... and if you have ever owned a black lab... They are family.

Jim Swanson said...

Kathleen -
What a nice blog! And that trail picture alone makes me want to move there.
As for dogs, they are the most wonderful creatures of unconditional love on this planet. We ccan (and some do) learn a lot from them.
Especially chilling was imaging my Black Lab "Stan" in the same position. How do you calm a dog and say "don't move"?
I'll keep coming back. Interesting reading and, as I said, the picture was incredible - Jim

Anonymous said...

I would be so scared if I was in his, or Bella's, position. I'm getting a little emotional just thinking about if it were my dogs down there.

Thanks so much for writing about this accident. So glad that everyone is safe.

Kathlene said...

Thanks for your comment Nick, I appreciate it! Btw, Alicia says hi. :-)

Kathlene said...

Thank you very much Jim. I know what you mean, how did the dog just hang in there for 40 minutes without panicking? It's a miracle. Keep Stan safe.

Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujloy.com said...

I'm not surprised, either. Two of my Border Collies, Peaches and Conner (when he was an even more rambunctious puppy) were on leads next to the Mendocino headland cliffs and pulled me OVER. As in flat on the ground. I've sometimes pondered that if they had been pulling me 90 degrees to the left I would have been over the cliffs. I also knew two golden labs who went over the cliffs into the ocean in Little River (Mendo Co.) whose owner jumped off the cliff to save them--one had a broken leg, but swam to save herself--and then got stuck and they were all rescued. Yeah, not to be fooled with. But VERY beautiful and tempting! Glad this had a happy ending.

Kathlene said...

Geez, what a close call Kathryn! I'm glad everyone survived. Yup, those cliffs are beautiful but dangerous.

Trailqueen said...

I had a cliff scare with a Chocolate Labrador who leaped over a cliff without looking and was fortunately able to claw her way back to the top. I love to take my dog to the beach and have a list of dog beaches in my blog Sonoma Country Pets.

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