Kalama River Rescue

A man who was looking for his dog along the Kalama River had to be rescued on Sunday.

Cowlitz County deputies were dispatched to a report of a subject who was stranded on a ledge above the Kalama River near Fallert Road.

44-year-old Nathan Mueller, of Vancouver, had been looking for his dog, and now he and his dog were both stranded on the ledge.

Deputies responded to the area and could hear Mueller yelling. He was located in a heavily timbered, deep ravine above the fast-moving Kalama River.

Mueller and his dog were on a ledge with a sheer drop-off of approximately 100 – 150 feet. The rescue was further hampered by steep terrain and slick mud in the area between deputies and Mueller.

With the risk of hypothermia due to cold weather and rain, and the risk of the subject falling, deputies moved quickly to rescue the subject and his dog.

Deputies James Doyle and Landen Jones, both military veterans with prior rappelling experience, prepared ropes and gathered medical supplies to assist in the rescue. Deputy Doyle began to rappel to the stranded subject while Deputy Jones belayed. Deputy Doyle was able to rappel and scramble down an overgrown landslide to reach Mueller and his dog.

Deputy Doyle then used a makeshift harness to retrieve the dog from the ledge. At this time, a member of the Clark County Fire Rope Rescue Team arrived and provided further assistance. Cowlitz County Fire District 5 also responded to the area to assist. These emergency responders were able to eventually move Mueller and his uncooperative dog to safer ground, despite a series of near falls.

Based on the quick thinking, technical experience, and bravery demonstrated by these emergency responders, Mueller and his dog were brought to safety without injury or delay.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office commends the efforts of Deputy James Doyle and Deputy Landen Jones.

Source: Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office

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