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Barking dog helps rescue Hawaii hiker after 200ft fall

The Lanipo Trail in Hawaii (Google Maps)
The Lanipo Trail in Hawaii (Google Maps)

A missing hiker was found nearly 200 feet below the trail and airlifted to safety after her barking dog caught the attention of passersby.

Emergency services were called to the scene after receiving reports of a missing hiker on the Lanipo Trail in Kaimuki, Hawaii on Monday, the Honolulu Fire Department said.

Other hikers separately reported that an unaccompanied dog was barking at the edge of a steep slope deep into the trail, the fire department added.

Rescue crews were quickly dispatched, including 17 responders from the fire department, who searched on foot and from above in a helicopter.

The helicopter was able to spot the dog, prompting a lone rescuer to rappel about 20 feet down the slope to retrieve it.

While airlifting the dog to a nearby park, the pilot noticed an object about 70 feet below where the dog was found, which rescuers found to be a bag filled with personal items.

Meanwhile, responders on the ground who were caring for the dog found a name and contact information for its owners on its collar.

After calls went unanswered, the Honolulu Police Department performed a wellness check at the owner’s address, but no one was home, the fire department said.

Responders then confirmed that the owner’s car was parked at the trailhead and launched “an extensive and coordinated search by air and ground”.

Rescuers later found the owner, a 35-year-old woman, under thick foliage about 100 feet below her bag, the fire department said.

The woman received basic life support treatment before being strapped into a rescue stretcher and airlifted to safety around three hours after the initial 911 call.

She was placed with Honolulu Emergency Medical Services for further medical care.

The dog was taken to the Hawaiian Humane Society, and will be reunited with its owner soon, KHON2 reported.

“What a happy ending,” hiker Kelsey Colpitts, who called 911 to report the unaccompanied dog, told the station.

The identity of the woman and her condition was not released.