Storm Gareth: Missing dog winched to safety from Scotland mountain

Ben the dog ran away from his owners while on a walk near Loch Avon, the Cairngorms, on Monday, and got lost in the bad weather conditions of Storm Gareth

Wednesday 13 March 2019 19:39
Dog missing for 48 hours in Storm Gareth rescued from narrow ledge with 200ft vertical drop below

A dog that was stranded on a mountain in severe weather conditions for 48 hours, was rescued by a helicopter crew.

Ben ran away from his owners while on a walk near Loch Avon in the Cairngorms earlier this week and got lost in the bad weather conditions.

Two days later, the Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew rescued the Cavachon dog after he was spotted on a narrow ledge above a 200ft drop.

The crew were on a training exercise when winchmen were dropped off to collect the creature which appeared to be "terrified and cold".

Ben was covered in snow when he was brought onboard the helicopter after spending two days in the wintery conditions.

He was flown to the nearby Glenmore Lodge, in Aviemore, who then rushed him to the Strathspey Veterinary Centre, Scottish Highlands.

It is understood Ben is doing well and has now been reunited with his owner.

A Coastguard spokesman said: "Our Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew were presented with an ideal opportunity to test their winter flying skills. A little dog, who had been missing for 48 hours in the terrible weather conditions of Storm Gareth, was spotted on a narrow ledge with a 200ft vertical drop below by the Coastguard helicopter crew.

"The Inverness helicopter crew - captain Simon Hammock, co-pilot Roger Sherriff, winch operator Rob Glendinning and Winchman Mark Stevens, were undertaking some essential winter training with another Winchman Kate Willoughby visiting from Humberside Coastguard helicopter base at Stag Rocks in the Cairngorms.

"To put their winter skills to the test, the two Winchmen were dropped off at a nearby bothy to undertake essential medical training in the snow."

The spokesman added: "The remaining helicopter crew flew off to simulate a refuel and as they circled 1000ft up Loch Avon in the Cairngorms, a nearby section of cloud cleared and they happened to spot the dog perched precariously on the ledge. The helicopter crew noted the position, went back to collect the two training winchmen and returned to the stranded dog.

"The weather had luckily presented them an ideal window of opportunity to use the rest of their training time to rescue the dog."

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