A normal day of work turned out into the most extraordinary rescue mission when a bridge inspector spotted a stranded dog 120 feet above the Mississippi River.
Ryan Nataluk was working with his crew on Sunday afternoon when Craig Jenkins, a bridge inspection engineers, noticed something out of the ordinary on the Natchez–Vidalia Bridge.
“Craig called over the radio, “I see a dog!” said Nataluk. “We’ve never seen a live dog before so at first I thought it was a raccoon.” After he took another look, he confirmed it was a dog that got stuck on a lower chord of the bridge. The pup looked shy but started cooperating with the crew after realizing that help had arrived.
Nataluk, a vice president and lead engineer for the company Stantec, is used to inspecting and climbing bridges for 23 years and is also a mountain climber and used all his skills to rescue the pup.
“I go camping and climbing all over with my family and dog,” said Nataluk. “I’ve had to bring my own dog across rivers and even haul him up peaks and overtime I’ve figured out how to make makeshift harnesses.”
After alerting police, Nataluk jumped into action using a piece of chord as a harness to make sure she would be secure. The video of the rescue was tweeted by his company and captioned it as “in the right place at the right time!”
Talk about being in the right place at the right time! 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. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/ix8nTYo34q
— Stantec (@Stantec) September 22, 2020
Nataluk climbed down onto the bridge deck and placed the dog in the harness along with officer John Fenly, they both pulled her to safety. He thought the dog may have been injured but that was not true, “When we got her up there she just started walking immediately and wagging her tail,” said Nataluk. “You could tell she was really happy.”
The crew pulled Nataluk’s leg when they told him to adopt the dog and take her back to Colorado, but already someone else had laid claim to her. The Natchez Police Department said the dog was adopted soon after her rescue. “She is a very fortunate dog,” said Police Chief Walter Armstrong. “They need to name her, ‘Lucky.'”
Related: Officer Stands In Pouring Rain To Help Protect Little Snapping Turtle