Lifestyle & Human Interest

Daring Rescue: Bridge Inspector Saves Dog Stranded 120 Feet in the Air


When Ryan Nataluk was out inspecting bridges over the weekend, he ended up finding more than he bargained for. A vice president and lead engineer with Stantec, he was surprised when one of his men radioed him, claiming to have spotted something unusual.

“Craig called over the radio, ‘I see a dog!'” Nataluk said, according to CNN. “We’ve never seen a live dog before so at first I thought it was a raccoon.”

But sure enough, it was a dog — a rather houndy-looking dog with a bright orange collar.

The bridge was the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, and the dog was sitting on a ledge 120 feet above the Mississippi River. This would be a tricky extraction, wholly dependent on the skill of the rescuer and the cooperation of the pup.

Nataluk himself was up to the challenge. Having inspected bridges for over two decades and spending his downtime mountain climbing with his own four-legged friend, he was well-prepared for such a task.

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“I go camping and climbing all over with my family and dog,” he explained. “I’ve had to bring my own dog across rivers and even haul him up peaks and over time I’ve figured out how to make makeshift harnesses.”

Thankfully, though the dog was a little scared at first, she quickly warmed to Nataluk, perhaps sensing his dog-savviness and his intent to rescue her.

Stantec tweeted about the rescue, including a video that shows just how tight a spot the dog was in.

“Talk about being in the right place at the right time!” the company tweeted.

“Our bridge inspection crew was working over the Mississippi River this weekend when bridge inspector Craig Jenkins noticed a stranded dog beneath the bridge deck, 120ft above the river.”

“Ryan Nataluk, lead climber and rescue technician for the team, quickly called the police for assistance and climbed down to the dog,” a follow-up post read. “After assessing her for injuries and fashioning a makeshift harness for the dog out of rope, Ryan lifted her to safety.”

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Once the dog was hoisted off the beam, she made her gratitude known.

“When we got her up there she just started walking immediately and wagging her tail,” Nataluk said.

“You could tell she was really happy.”

“She is a very fortunate dog,” Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong added. “They need to name her ‘Lucky.'”

While the dog was rescued Sunday, it’s unclear whether she got onto the ledge herself or more nefarious forces were at work.

“No one is sure how she ended up down there,” Stantec tweeted, “but this heartwarming rescue story proves that not all heroes wear capes!”

The pup was adopted by a local resident, who hopefully won’t let the dog get into such a predicament again — but if she does, they know who to call.

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