Park rangers rescue dog trapped in sinkhole

Park rangers rescue dog trapped in sinkhole

Photo provided by National Park Service Photo provided by National Park Service

November 16, 2005

CADES COVE (WATE) -- Rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park were called upon for an unusual rescue Tuesday when they saved a hunting dog that had fallen into a 70-foot sinkhole.

Backpackers camping near Cades Cove said they heard the dog barking from the sinkhole Monday afternoon. With the help of a construction worker at a home just outside the park boundary, they were able to see the dog by descending into the hole with a rope, but they were not able to reach the dog.

The backpackers then reported the situation to park rangers Monday night.

Rangers began their rescue at 10 a.m the next day.

Park Ranger Rick Brown rappelled about 40 feet into the sinkhole and discovered the dog had fallen farther into the hole than before.

But when Brown called the dog, the dog stood up and appeared in good shape.

Brown then reached the dog by descending deeper into the hole, where he tied the dog in a makeshift harness. Three other rangers then used a pulley system to haul the two out of the hole.

Rangers report the dog appeared to be emaciated, bruised, and exhausted, but was able to walk around.

The dog's owner was located in Townsend man, who said the dog had been missing for 16 days after a hunting trip.

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