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Hiker, dog rescued from Lake View Terrace cliff

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A 19-year-old hiker and his dog were rescued after sliding about 150 feet down a steep hillside in the Lake View Terrace area on Thursday.

Authorities say Ivan Salas was dehydrated, but didn't complain of any injuries after being rescued.

According to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Salas had been hiking with several family members and two dogs when his father tossed a bottle, and one of the dogs followed it as it went over the edge.

Salas tried to rescue his dog, but he slid down the slope.

"It was extremely scary, dangerous. I don't know what I was thinking when I went down," he said. "It's not just a dog, it's family and my best friend at the same time, so I had to do it."

Rescue crews received a call at 12:08 p.m. and responded to the scene. L.A. County firefighters first attempted to hoist Salas to safety, but soon abandoned that plan, fearing the downdraft from the rescue helicopter could blow the victim and his dog off the hillside or kick up rocks.

"(The rocks) were hitting me in the face and my dog too, and then my dog started panicking, she was going crazy. I just grabbed her tight," said Salas.

Without being able to hoist the victim and his dog to safety by chopper, rescue crews embarked on an effort to slowly lower them to the bottom of the hillside.

"We're looking at approximately 300 feet from the top of the ridge to the bottom of a ravine; he was approximately half way in between the two. We had crews stationed above him and below him, in case he did slip and fall," said L.A. Fire Batt. Chief Rick Colmes.

After a 90-minute rescue operation, including 35 firefighters, Salas and his dog were brought to safety.

Salas got a tearful hug from his mother when he got home. He said he was very grateful to the firefighters who rescued him and his dog.


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