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Barking Dog Helps Rescue Hiker Who Fell 200 Feet Off Trail

A woman who tumbled nearly 200 feet down a slope off a hiking trail in Hawaii was rescued by first responders led to her by her barking dog, according to authorities.

The Honolulu Fire Department said in a news release that it responded to a 911 call about a missing hiker on the Lanipo Trail in Kaimuki, one of the oldest communities in Oahu, on Monday. A 17-person search and rescue team began searching for the hiker from the air and on foot.

Separately, another hiker, Kelsey Colpitts, had stopped to locate a strange noise she’d heard on the trail. “I heard this kind of whimpering and loud barking,” Colpitts told KHON2. Assuming it was a dog, “I looked around and I could hear it, it sounded really close so I tried to get a closer look and look over the edge, but there were no trees to hang on to and I didn’t know how I was going to get it and it was barking louder and louder, and it sounded like it was in distress.”

Colpitts called 911, who eventually agreed to send rescuers out to retrieve the pooch, who was stuck about 20 feet below the trail. A rescuer rappelled down the slope to grab the dog, who was airlifted out of the area. While flying the dog and rescuer out, the helicopter’s pilot noticed another object further down the slope, which turned out to be a bag filled with personal items.

After authorities tried unsuccessfully to call the phone number listed on the dog’s collar, the Honolulu Police Department was sent to perform a welfare check at the owner’s address. Finding no one at home, officials were soon able to confirm that the owner’s car was parked at the trailhead.

About 90 minutes after the dog was rescued, the search team located the missing hiker about 100 feet below where her bag had been found. The 35-year-old woman had been covered by “thick foliage,” according to the Honolulu Fire Department. She was safely airlifted out and placed with Honolulu Emergency Medical Services for further evaluation and care.

As for the dog, a pure-bred Samoyed named Ullr, according to KHON2, it was taken to the Hawaiian Humane Society. A spokesperson told the station that they had been in contact with the hiker and planned to reunite her with her hero pet soon.

“What a happy ending,” Colpitts said.


January 2024