Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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.
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