A man is lucky to still have his dog after the Labrador-collie cross was swept into a culvert in Golden Ears Provincial Park in the Lower Mainland.
Micheal Archibald and his five-year-old daughter Lexie took their two dogs for a walk by the horse corral, close to the entrance to the park in Maple Ridge, when all of a sudden, he could no longer see Corrado.
He could see a creek up ahead and knew his 10-year-old dog probably just ran into the water.
He could also see a culvert, around 40 centimetres in diametre, into which there was a heavy flow of water due to the heavy rains that hit the region overnight on Friday.
He knew instantly his dog was in the culvert.
Archibald grabbed his daughter and raced to the other side of the road, but discovered that the culvert kept going down into a big gully.
Realizing how dangerous it would be to attempt to reach the end of the culvert with his daughter, they walked back to the road.
“I could hear him barking a couple of times from the road and I’m yelling for help,” said Archibald, but, he said, the culvert was about 50-metres long with a drop of about 10 metres within that span and after about 10 minutes the barking stopped.
He feared the worst – that his dog had died.
As they were walking back to their vehicle they came across Duncan native Mitchell Fitzgibbon and his partner Nicole Dalton, both of whom reside in North Vancouver, who were just starting out on a walk and asked them for help.
By this time, Archibald’s wife had raced to the park to pick up their daughter.
So Archibald went back to the culvert to attempt another rescue but gave up after another 45 minutes had passed without hearing any more barking.
Archibald went home.
About two hours later, Fitzgibbon and Dalton returned to the culvert – at the end of their walk – and they heard barking.
They immediately called him and he gathered some tools together and the help of a friend and raced back to the park.
By this time, the couple had called for help and Maple Ridge firefighters were on scene.
Fire chief Howard Exner says firefighters were on scene at about 1:30 p.m. and spent around three hours rescuing Corrado.
Luckily the dog had made it out the other side of the culvert, he said. But Corrado became tangled in debris and somehow ended up in a subterranean area that was created from a landslide.
Firefighters used shovels to dig the dog out and chainsaws to cut the wooden debris away.
“They did an amazing job,” said Archibald, who called his dog’s survival “a miracle.”
“Honestly when it happened there was no way you could have even thought that anything could have survived,” said Archibald.
Exner wants to remind people to stay at least 10-metres away from the edge of any watercourse.
“Because of the fact that they are in flood stage, they are all fast flowing and bad stuff will happen,” said Exner, adding that attempting a self rescue, in this case, could have led to a worse outcome.
The safety message, said Exner, is that during flood stages, when flooding is everywhere and watercourses are running very, very hard,they are very dangerous to be around.