Saving their Boe: Mission accomplished

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 13:00 29/08/2012
Wade Gilmour and Corey Gilmour
PATRICK HAMILTON/ Fairfax NZ

The Gilmour brothers of Richmond: Wade, 18, and Corey, 21, with family pet 'Boe' who needed rescuing from Hori Bay.

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Next time brothers Corey and Wade Gilmour go fishing they are leaving their loved family pet Boe at home.

Boe, a 10-year-old labrador, was the subject of a dramatic 180-metre cliff rescue by search and rescue volunteers on Sunday after he slipped down a steep bank at Hori Bay north of Nelson.

Corey said they had been fishing at Hori Bay on Saturday and decided to walk around a ridge to the next bay, when Boe slipped down the cliff.

She landed on a ledge and after scrambling down to her they realised they would not be able to get her back up by themselves.

It was too steep and Boe weighs about 35kg.

Rather than risk an accident in the dark he and Wade decided to stay the night with Boe.

"Otherwise they would be looking for a dog and a couple of dead people at the same time."

Corey used his cellphone to call his parents to tell them what had happened.

The brothers found fresh water and hunkered down for a long, cold, wet and sleepless night.

The next morning they climbed out for help, taking about 40 minutes to scale the steep cliff.

"It was one-slip-and-you-were-dead sort of thing," Corey said of the climb.

Back home in Richmond they decided to get help to rescue Boe and contacted Nelson land search and rescue volunteer Dave Spencer, who rallied volunteers from Nelson's urban and land search and rescue teams (USAR).

The team went to Hori Bay and after a 20-minute steep walk to find the best location to retrieve Boe, started the rescue.

Corey and volunteer Brian Choate abseiled down to Boe, who Corey said was pretty pleased to see her rescuers.

The pair put Boe in a large bag, and secured her in a stretcher, then she was slowly hauled to safety.

Boe was unfazed by being hauled almost vertically up the cliff, Corey said.

"She was surprisingly relaxed. It was almost as if she knew we were there to save her."

Corey's mother, Kiri Gilmour, said she had a sleepless night worrying about her sons sleeping out, but they had reassured her they would be fine.

"Thank goodness I didn't know how steep it was. He was going: 'I will survive'... Thanks to Bear Grylls."

She wanted to thank all the volunteers for giving up their time and helping them get back their much-loved dog.

"You don't realise how much you love them until you think they are not going to have them back. She [Boe] is pretty special, the boys got her as a Christmas present 10 years ago."

Mr Spencer said it took five hours for the rescue once they arrived at Hori Bay.

"I left the house and said to the wife: 'See you in a couple of hours', but ended up being out from 11am to 8pm."

Mr Spencer said the steepness and length of the cliff meant it was quite a technical rescue and it was great having the expertise of the USAR volunteers who are skilled with abseiling and the use of ropes.

It was a great joint exercise, Mr Spencer said.

The steepness of the cliff meant they had to set up quite a complicated rope and pulley system to haul Boe to safety.

Nelson's USAR team NZRT2 worked in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake and have extensive experience with abseiling and rope work.

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Mr Spencer said he was impressed with Corey, who had done all the right things, from informing people where he was, deciding to stay put for the night and then phoning for expert help and not trying to do the rescue himself.

"He's a young guy with a good level head on him."

Mr Spencer said the landSAR and USAR teams trained frequently so it was great to have an opportunity to use those skills in a real situation.

"It was a good outcome. It was good to be able to reunite the family dog with the family. I think Corey made the comment if he didn't bring the dog home it wouldn't be worth going home.

"It was a long but satisfying day."

- The Nelson Mail

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