By Janet Tappin Coelho in Brazil
This is the uplifting moment a firefighter, abseiling a rock face in search of a dog which has been lost for six days, cries out in delight as he finally spots the animal 50 metres down the cliff stuck on a tiny ledge.
Rescuers, who had been called out to search for the poor pooch, Neguinho, after the owner raised the alarm, launched an operation which lasted six hours over two days. They finally found the animal on Monday (21) morning after spotting it huddling in a crack a long drop down the jagged rock face where it had been stranded for days.
The dehydrated dog was rescued uninjured but was starving and frightened after landing on the narrow mountain ridge in Rio dos Bugres, a mountainous and wooded region between the cities of Imbuia and Ituporanga in south Brazil.
A video filmed on a camera attached to a safety helmet shows the moment the fire officer gently tries to coax the mutt out of the tight gap but gets no response as the dejected dog appears to have given up hope of being saved and is too scared to even acknowledge his helper.
It took many hours of preparation before rescuers could safely rappel down the mountainside to grab hold of the animal which was trapped in the difficult to reach location. Officers also revealed ‘it took time to persuade the mutt’ to trust them.
The exhausted pup was eventually caught and hoisted up the mountainside in a harness strapped to his rescuer.
Neguinho disappeared last week Tuesday (15) during a regular run through the woods.
The owner reported his pet missing after failing to find him despite spending dozens of hours hunting for the animal.
Officer Luis Fernando Alves, one of the three firefighters involved in the rescue mission, said: “The owner told us his dog had suddenly vanished near the cliff edge while out for a walk. He refused to give up hope and we were optimistic of finding the animal alive.
“We went to the area where he last saw Neguinho and listened for any noise from him. But he was very quiet probably because he was too weak and hungry after being in a vulnerable position for so long and being exposed to the elements. He was also quite far down, and we couldn’t hear him whimper even when we called his name.
“We took it in turns to scale down the rock face through dense bush to search for him. It was laborious, time-consuming and dangerous but worth the result. It was a wonderful moment when I finally spotted him way down the cliff tucked in the crevice. I couldn’t help but cry out with joy.”
Officer Alves added that apart from being a bit thin after eating nothing for days and very scared by his ordeal, Neguinho had suffered no injuries.
The crew started the search on Sunday but had to retire when fading light in the early evening made it too risky to continue.
The operation was resumed first thing Monday morning and after several hours of searching, the dog was finally found and safely returned to his grateful owner around 9am.
Back home, the famished canine quickly wolfed down a whole bowl of food.
According to his owner, Neguinho is slowly getting back to his old self but is still displaying a ‘few nerves after his frightening escapade’.
His fortunate pet will now be kept on a leash whenever he goes for a walk in the woods.