A male in need of medical attention was safely returned to hospital last Wednesday after RCMP were led to his hiding spot in the Coquihalla River by trusted police service dog — Duke.
After receiving a report on September 2, at around 12:30 p.m., police learned that a 26 year old male went missing while visiting the Othello Tunnels.
General Duty officers supported by the Integrated Police Dog Section and Hope Search and Rescue quickly arrived and began scouring the region for the missing man.
“The area is steep mountain terrain sloping down to the Coquihalla River,” said Cpl. Darryl Peppler of the Hope RCMP. “The river is swollen and torrent with the heavy rainfall over the past week.”
That is when Duke took charge, leading his handler Sgt. Chris Scott of the Integrated Police Dog Section from the Abbotsford Police Department over a two kilometre track through some of the most demanding landscape the mountain has to offer.
As Duke tracked along the river, his handler remained diligent and aware to the danger of being swept away, with the potentiality they fall into the frigid water.
About an hour later, Duke led police to the missing man hiding in a cave in the river. The man was taken into custody by officers and returned safely to the hospital.
“The track was very dangerous — there was three feet of water in the cave and the water was rising. When Duke found the man I pulled the dog back and he knew it was a job well done,” said Scott.
“The situation could have had a much grimmer ending if not for Duke.”
The Integrated Police Dog Section provides support to every facet of police work, and often the officers and their ‘partners’ like Duke are faced with dangerous and demanding tasks during the course of a shift,” said Cpl. Mike Rail.