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Barking dog helps rescue owner who fell nearly 200 feet off Hawaii hiking trail

Both the dog and the owner, a 35-year-old woman, were safely airlifted to a nearby park in Honolulu.
The Lanipo Ridge trail, center, begins in Kaimuki, Hawaii.
The Lanipo Ridge trail, center, begins in Kaimuki, Hawaii.Google Maps

A hiker who fell 200 feet down a steep slope off a marked trail in Hawaii was found and rescued thanks in large part to her barking dog.

The Honolulu Fire Department said in a release it received a 911 call on Monday about a missing hiker on Lanipo Trail in the Kaimuki neighborhood. First responders began a rescue operation, searching on foot and from above in a helicopter.

Other hikers separately reported that a barking dog was on a steep slope without an owner, the fire department said. The helicopter spotted the dog, and a rescuer rappelled about 20 feet down the marked trail to grab the distressed animal. 

While airlifting the dog to a nearby park, the pilot noticed an object about 70 feet below where the dog stood, according to the fire department. The crew returned to retrieve the object and found it was a bag filled with personal items. 

Meanwhile, first responders caring for the dog at the park noticed the owner's name and phone number 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.

After gathering further information on the owner, including confirmation that her car was parked at the trailhead, "an extensive and coordinated search" got underway. Rescuers found the owner under thick foliage about 100 feet below her bag, according to the fire department.

After receiving basic life support treatment, the 35-year-old woman was strapped into a rescue stretcher and airlifted to the park around three hours after the initial 911 call. She was placed with Honolulu Emergency Medical Services for further medical care.