British Columbia

Dog survives 75-metre fall from seaside cliff in Haida Gwaii

An afternoon hike turned into a two-day ordeal for Rosey the dog and her family after she fell down a massive seaside cliff in northern Haida Gwaii.

According to a sign in the park ten dogs have died after falling from the steep oceanside cliff

Rosey the dog was reunited with owner Carla Russ after spending more than 24 hours on the side of a 75-metre cliff in Naikoon Provincial Park on Northern Haida Gwaii. (Ross Hayes/Archipelago Search and Rescue)

Rosey the chihuahua-pug cross is lucky to be alive after falling more than halfway down the side of an ancient volcano on Haida Gwaii.  

The incident occurred on Tow Hill in Naikoon Provincial Park where a sign warns owners to keep pets leashed because ten dogs have previously died after falling from the cliff.

"It was completely vertical. If I dropped a rock of the edge it wouldn't hit anything until it got to the bottom, except that one little crop of shrubs that managed to somehow grab it," said Chris Ashurst, a team member of Archipelago Search and Rescue.

Two-day rescue

Rescuers spent about three hours scaling the cliff on Tuesday night, but by the time they reached the ledge it was too dark and Rosey refused to come out of the bushes.

When the team returned on Wednesday, they brought a drone operator who began searching from the bottom of the cliff.

"We kind of worried it died at that point. But then sure enough the next morning, the owner went back and could hear it barking again," said Ashurst.

Archipelago Search and Rescue team member Collin Camire attempts to rescue Rosey on Tuesday, June 6. By the time he reached the dog's location it was dark and the team was forced to call off rescue efforts for the night. (Archipelago Search and Rescue)

Meanwhile the dog's owner, Carla Russ, had called in backup in the form of her father and uncle who used ropes and harnesses to again rappel from the top and managed to locate Rosey.

"They found the dog squeezed up under a root, not going anywhere, freaked out," said Ashurst. "The dog was just stuffed in there."

'We're not judging'

Rosey appeared happy to be reunited with its owners who seemed overwhelmed with situation, but grateful for the return of their beloved pup.

"We found them on the road as they were driving out and the dog was just happy and healthy," he said.

By the end of the two-day ordeal about 15 people had assisted with the rescue, including passersby and family members, according to Ashurst.

Ashurst, who has previously rescued a dog from the same cliff, said he was happy to help and that the team takes every rescue seriously regardless of the species at risk.

"Of course it's a good idea to keep your dog on a leash up there for obvious reasons, but we're not judging," said Ashurst.

"It was an unfortunate accident and maybe we'll try to put up another sign to really hit it home that this is no joke."