The 33-year-old climber broke his ankle in the Italian Alps and was rescued Thursday

By Phil Boucher
February 19, 2021 05:56 PM
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Credit: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Friuli Venezia Giulia - CNSAS/Facebook

A tiny mixed breed dog called Ash just saved his owner's life on the frozen slopes of the Italian Alps.

The hero pooch stayed with the unnamed 33-year-old from Trieste, Italy for seven days and nights in sub-zero temperatures after the climber slipped and broke his ankle.

"The man was wounded and badly bruised but conscious and had the little dog, Ash, next to him," reads a Facebook release by the Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS) mountain rescue team about the incident.

"He claimed that he had slipped several meters into a canal and dragged himself, albeit with a broken ankle and other traumas as close to the creek water as possible and that he managed to survive thanks to the company of the doggy," the post adds.

CNSAS rescue team
| Credit: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Friuli Venezia Giulia - CNSAS/Facebook
CNSAS rescue team
| Credit: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Friuli Venezia Giulia - CNSAS/Facebook

Ash and his owner were enjoying an annual winter hike in the remote Alpine foothills north of Udine when the accident happened at a height of nearly 2,300 ft.

Due to the lack of a cell phone signal in the region, the climber was unable to call for help.

The pair had planned to spend their nights in mountain huts and bivouacs and were reported missing by the climber's fiancée on Monday after they failed to return on schedule.

CNSAS rescue team
| Credit: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Friuli Venezia Giulia - CNSAS/Facebook
CNSAS rescue team
| Credit: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Friuli Venezia Giulia - CNSAS/Facebook

A helicopter rescue team discovered the shivering pair after a sharp-eyed volunteer spotted a thermal blanket from the air. The climber was later discovered covered in leaves near a forest track on Thursday morning.

According to the release, the climber "was thirsty and hungry" when he was found. The hiker's rescuers put him into a depression bag then winched him onto the rescue helicopter around 9 a.m. local time on Thursday.

Thankfully, the hero of the hour also got a thrill ride home too.

"The doggie returned with rescuers aboard the Civil Protection helicopter," adds the release.