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Injured hiker and dog get helicopter rescue after harrowing night on Metro Vancouver trail

An injured hiker and his dog were rescued near Buntzen Lake early Monday after spending the night outdoors.
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An injured hiker and his dog were rescued near Buntzen Lake early Monday after spending the night outdoors.

 @coquitlamSAR/Twitter

Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) used a Talon Helicopter to conduct an early-morning long-line rescue, lifting 45-year-old and his Bernese mountain dog to safety.

"He was well equipped," said Bob Heatherington, a search manager with Coquitlam SAR. "He knew what he was doing. He left a trip plan with his wife, so that cut down a lot of the aggravation of finding out where he is and what was going on."

The Maple Ridge man was hiking the Mount Beautiful Trail heading toward Swan Falls when his dog fell down a ravine and injured itself.

Niedzielski attempted to carry the large canine down the hill but suffered injuries to his back that kept him from going any further.

At around 7 p.m., he phoned the Coquitlam RCMP, who called SAR.

Heatherington said aside from the duration of the incident, it was fairly straightforward rescue. Searchers were dispatched up the mountain at around 7:40 p.m. and made verbal contact with the hiker at 12:45 a.m.

"There was no point in getting him and the dog out in the dark," he said.

Instead, rescuers focused on keeping the man and his dog comfortable while they waited for daylight and the helicopter.

He encouraged more people to detail where they are going and how long they expect to be gone before heading out for a trek.

"Leave a trip plan," Heatherington said. "They help so much. You can be well equipped, but stuff happens."