Dog survives 80m waterfall drop
WHEN Bear was told to wait on a narrow cliff ledge after plummeting 80m down a waterfall, he did.
As a testament to his bond with Carly Thorogood, the two-year-old husky remained helpless on the ledge at Kureelpa Falls for 13 terrifying hours.
Ms Thorogood's friend Andrew Snyman had taken Bear on an afternoon walk through Mapleton Forest Reserve, and was peering over the edge of the gushing falls when Bear disappeared.
Fearing he could have drowned and with daylight fading fast, Mr Snyman rushed back to Ms Thorogood's Kureelpa home to get help.
Fire crews helped in the search and spotted Bear lying on a narrow ledge 100m away, underneath the pounding waterfall.
"We thought he was dead ... then we saw his head sticking out from the side of the ledge," Ms Thorogood said.
"It was the only place he could have gone. There was another fall straight after it and he could have gone down that one as well."
Fire crews failed to reach Bear because the conditions were too dangerous and rain had started to fall.
Nambour Fire Service leading firefighter Peter Harvey said lives could have been put at risk if they attempted a rescue.
"He was in a very steep gully about 80m from us, it was just too unsafe to try and get to him," Mr Harvey said.
"It was very dark and dangerous from all the rain."
For Ms Thorogood, the news that her dog could not be rescued was devastating.
"It was horrible. I just had to leave him there and tell him to stay put," she said.
"I didn't know if he had broken anything. He could have had internal bleeding. We just couldn't reach him to find out."
It was a harrowing 13-hour wait until first light when Ms Thorogood and Mr Snyman could return to rescue Bear.
Amazingly, he had stayed true to his owner and remained on the ledge throughout the night.
"I was so happy when we saw him, but I had to tell him to wait so he didn't try to jump towards me and fall again," Ms Thorogood said.
"I just couldn't believe he was standing and looking so good."
Ms Thorogood and Mr Snyman had to cross the rushing falls to reach the ledge, where they used a rope to carry Bear down to safety.
He was rushed to a vet for X-rays but the only injury was a small cut on the inside of his back leg.
"Most everybody thought he wouldn't survive, but he's tougher than we thought," Ms Thorogood said.
"We will call him Lucky Bear from now."