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article imageMan and his dog rescued as they cling to steep California cliff

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 31, 2011 in Lifestyle
Los Angeles - A 19-year-old man and his dog clung for life to the side of a steep California cliff as they waited for rescuers to arrive.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

Ivan Salas, his father and two dogs were taking a daily walk on Dec. 29. As they were hiking along a 300-foot-high ridge in the Lakeview Terrace area, located in the San Fernando Valley, the trip took an unexpected turn.
According to ABC News, Salas' father had tossed a bottle over the edge of the cliff and one of the dogs, a one-year-old German Shepherd mix named Lola, chased it.
NBC reported when Lola didn't immediately return, Salas went to find her. It turned out the dog had slid over the edge.
Salas leaped to his dog's rescue, but went down the steep hillside with his dog and the duo was stuck about 100 feet down.
“I just went down really quick, just as fast as I can,” NBC reported Salas said. “And once I got my dog, I was like [expletive] man, there’s no way out. I’m stuck here now.”
After calls to 911, 35 Los Angeles firefighters arrived on the scene to rescue the pair. The man grasped the side of the cliff for over 90 minutes.
“Once I was sliding down, I was just trying to hold onto whatever I could,” said Salas on “Good Morning America.”
“When I was going halfway down, that’s when I thought that was the end for myself," Salas said during the TV appearance, "I was going too fast and I couldn’t stop.”
Upon their arrival, rescue personnel initially tried to reach Salas and Lola by helicopter, but the loose dirt and debris was causing a problem, so the firefighters instead conducted a dramatic on-the-ground rescue.
Two firefighters scaled down the steep cliff by using ropes and harnesses. Then rescuers brought Salas and Lola down the hill as they "negotiated difficult terrain," which included loose rocks. One firefighter was able to get the dog down first while the other firefighter worked to bring Salas down.
Watching the rescue footage you can see the rocks and dirt falling out from under the rescuer's feet.
Both Salas and his dog were not seriously injured. KABC reported the 19-year-old suffered some dehydration and an injury to his thumb.
"It was extremely scary, dangerous. I don't know what I was thinking when I went down," Salas told KABC. "It's not just a dog, it's family and my best friend at the same time, so I had to do it."
According to NBC's report, “These mountains, hiking trails,and the terrain up here is steep and unstable,” said Batt. Chief Rick Combs of the LA Fire Department. “Just make sure that you do your due diligence when hiking these trails – that you are aware of the surrounding threats and take those into consideration.”
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