By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
HALIBURTON, Ont. – A central Ontario woman is recovering after being rescued from a…
HALIBURTON, Ont. – A central Ontario woman is recovering after being rescued from a mud hole where she was stuck for almost 12 hours, while her dog stayed at her side.
Police say 64-year-old Sandra Van Alstyne was out walking her dog in the cottage country area of Haliburton Highlands on Tuesday when she became stuck in a mud hole and couldn’t get out.
She was reported missing at about 7:30 p.m. and a provincial police helicopter and tracking dogs were brought in to help find her.
Once she was located in the mud hole, police and emergency medical workers managed to pull her out and she was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Police say Van Alstyne’s dog Monte remained by her side during her lengthy ordeal.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, April 1, 2013 at 9:09 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Adam Shaw was taking an Easter stroll with his wife, two young…
EDMONTON – Adam Shaw was taking an Easter stroll with his wife, two young children and the family dog when they heard the screams.
It sounded at first as if kids were cavorting in the spring sunshine in a northeast Edmonton park.
But Shaw and his wife, Kelsey, quickly realized that two girls had been playing on ice near a footbridge and had fallen into the bone-chilling water of the wide North Saskatchewan River.
“We looked down to see one young girl floating in the river and her sister trying to pull her out,” he recalled Monday at a firehall news conference. “We tried to yell to them to hang onto the ice and stay where they were if they could.”
After asking his wife to dial 911, Shaw called his eight-year-old lab-husky-cross Rocky to his side and together they scrambled down the steep bank through tangles of bushes and onto the river ice.
By now the second girl, 9, had fallen in.
Shaw managed to pull her six-year-old sister out reasonably quickly.
“The ice was still fairly solid where she was and I was able to pull her out. I told her to head back to shore and stay there and wait for help.”
But even in those few moments, the situation grew more dire.
“The second girl had floated quite a ways down the river. She was bobbing in and out. We could barely see her, so we started running down the ice, trying to get close to her.”
He yelled out to her so she knew he was there. He asked her if she could swim closer to the ice. But she said she was really cold and couldn’t move her arms or legs.
That’s when things got even worse. Shaw was trying to throw Rocky’s leash to the girl when he fell in and Rocky fell in with him. That’s when Shaw “got scared for myself.”
“It was breath-taking. It was very cold.”
But the adrenalin was pumping and he just kept going.
Man and dog tried to pull themselves back to shore, but the thinning ice kept collapsing beneath them.
“It kept breaking, kept breaking.”
Rocky finally managed to get his front paws on the ice.
“I pushed his back end up so he was on the ice, then used the leash and him to pull myself up on the ice.”
Shaw realized he needed to try a different approach if he wasn’t going to become a victim.
“I just really didn’t want to fail,” Shaw said.
By this time, he couldn’t see the second girl. He said it seemed as if his eyes searched for her a long time along the expanse of open water.
“I started to look around and I couldn’t see her. She had gone underneath the water and I thought she was gone. She popped up … down the river and she was still screaming and I started to run after her again.”
Shaw and his dog got as close as they could.
“I put the leash around Rocky and pushed him to get in the water. I told her I was going to get him to jump in and if she could grab a hold of his leash, we could get her back to the ice.”
Rocky, a burly canine with a greying muzzle, jumped in right beside the girl and she managed to cling to his leash.
“I called him back and he swam towards the ice.”
Again the ice crumbled as Rocky swam closer with the girl in tow. But Shaw managed to grab the dog and the girl’s arm and pull them both to safety. The girl was hypothermic.
He tried carrying her back up the bank, but it was too steep, so they sat down at the edge of the river. Amazingly, despite getting cold and wet, his cellphone rang. It was the emergency rescue team telling him to stay put.
Later, after the girls had been taken to hospital where they were examined and declared fine, Shaw called his mom. He told her he was famished from the exertion and she said she would bring him a burger — and one for Rocky, too.
Shaw said he isn’t surprised by his dog’s actions.
“He’s very adventurous. He’s always in and out of the water. He’s always shocking us with jumping off the ice and stuff like that his whole life, so I knew that he could jump in the water and swim back, no problem.”
He also feels Rocky sensed he had to come through with some heroics.
“I think he knew something out of the ordinary was going on. After it all happened, we were sitting on the shore and he’s a pretty active dog, he’s usually running around and stuff, but he came and sat down beside me and beside the girl and he didn’t move,” Shaw said.
“When the rescue team actually approached us, he was growling at them, which is kind of out of the ordinary for him, so I think he was a little scared for me or something.”
Rocky has no special training other than spending a lot of time outdoors with Shaw, who has had him since he was a puppy.
Edmonton’s fire chief presented Shaw with a fire rescue helmet for his bravery, while Rocky was given a big, rawhide bone he gnawed on enthusiastically.
Shaw said he thought about little else the whole time except getting the girls out of the frigid water.
“They were really scared. They were screaming. I just wanted to help them.”
It didn’t really hit him until later that night.
“My family came over and we started talking about it, how it could have gone a lot differently. That’s when it started to sink in. It worked out well.
“It was a good ending to a scary experience.”
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Mark Lijek, a retired U.S. diplomat rescued from Iran, writes about the real heroes of 1979
Ben Affleck’s Argo has stormed box offices, collected awards and soon, perhaps, will capture an Oscar, yet Canadians of a certain age may find themselves thinking: This is not quite how I remember those days. I was there when Iranians took over the American Embassy in Tehran, and it is not quite how I remember them either. Argo is terrific entertainment, but it tells only a part of our story, and says nothing at all about many of the real heroes—most Canadian—who helped rescue us. Before Argo came along, our rescue was routinely called the “Canadian Caper.” It still should be. The operation consisted of four distinct phases. Three were almost entirely Canadian, and only one involved significant U.S. assistance.
For those not of a certain age, a brief summary is a good starting point. Nov. 4, 1979 brought cold rain and hinted of trouble of a different sort. Two weeks earlier, then-president Jimmy Carter decided to admit the former shah of Iran to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Iranians were outraged; many suspected it was a plot by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to remove Iran’s new ruler, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and put the shah back in charge. Protests outside Tehran’s U.S. Embassy had become daily occurrences. That November morning, demonstrators climbed the gate and soon controlled the compound.
Most Americans worked in the chancery, the Embassy’s main building located in the compound’s south end, and were captured. Eleven of us worked in the consulate, a separate facility fortunate to have a direct entrance to the street. After two hours, we learned the chancery defences had been breached. We were told to break into two groups and leave. We tried, as instructed, to reach the British Embassy, but demonstrations blocked our path. Five of us, scared and wet, ended up in the apartment of Bob Anders, our immigration chief. The second group was captured and held with the other hostages.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:53 PM - 0 Comments
62-year-old physics instructor rescued off Australian coast
62 year-old Paul Lim—the Victoria sailor rescued off the coast of Western Australia Monday—has been called “a real survivor” by sailing friends and university students. The veteran soloist (he once navigated the Amazon in a kayak built by natives) was an extremely popular sessional physics instructor at the University of Victoria, and lived on a boat in James Bay prior to his last sailing excursion.
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Tensions are brewing—both below and above
“We always had problems with safety in that mine. Every day when we came to work we’d see rubble from falls that had happened since we left the day before. Pieces of the tunnel were collapsing all the time.”
Until three months ago, Gino Cortés worked in the San Esteban mining company’s San José gold and copper mine in the desert mountains north of the Chilean city of Copiapó. He might have been underground when the mine’s roof collapsed on Aug. 5, trapping 33 miners some 700 m beneath the surface, but for a twist of luck, or perhaps fate. Just one month before that, says Cortés, “I was walking in one of the tunnels when a rock fell from the ceiling and tore my leg off. I thought it was a nightmare. Then, when I realized it was real, the only thing I could think of was that I had to live. I saw a light. I think it was God, because I have no other injuries. Only this leg.”
Cortés speaks from his bed in a Santiago hospital, where he is having an infection treated. He was home near the San José mine when it caved in and entombed his friends and co-workers. “I wasn’t surprised,” he says. “All the workers knew something was going to happen. They had heard strange sounds. Old miners say a mine is alive and speaks to you. That’s how they knew something wasn’t right.”
By Michael Petrou in Port-au-Prince with Charlie Gillis, Jonathon Gatehouse and Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9:54 AM - 12 Comments
Maclean’s cover story: after the earthquake, the desperate fight for survival amid the ruins
The earthquake that broke the back of an already ailing nation struck just before 5 p.m., a time when many Haitians were still at work or school. The 7.0-magnitude tremor was centred near Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, and lasted a mere 45 seconds—a temporal eyeblink that will go down as the nadir of the Caribbean country’s long history of misery and chaos. Shantytowns that litter the island’s southwest peninsula went down domino-style. Larger buildings comprised of cinderblock and unreinforced concrete collapsed like wedding cakes, in many cases with a full complement of their day-to-day occupants inside. The ones left standing quickly emptied; survivors scrambled to help those still inside, tugging at the shards of cement with bare hands.
Fredson Demostherma, a resident of Léogâne, 30 km west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, jumped to safety from a second-floor window in his house when the ground started to rumble. He turned around and watched the building collapse, trapping seven members of his family inside, including an infant. He paid someone with a sledgehammer to help him dig his family, who survived, out. “Haiti’s future is in the hands of other nations, and God,” Demostherma told Maclean’s. Pierre Cherami, who ran an auto parts business in Gressier, just outside of Port-au-Prince, was in his house with his wife and daughter, who perished. “Their names are Denise and Myrline,” he said. “Myrline wasn’t feeling well and was sleeping. My wife was with her. When the quake hit, I saw the wall begin to topple. I tried to hold it up but couldn’t. I recovered both of their bodies. It will be difficult to rebuild my life. I’ve lost everything.”