Deaf Hiker Falls 600ft, Rescuers Save Her And New Companion

Rescuers save deaf hiker who fell 600ft. A story of survival and a new companion unfolds in this gripping tale of wilderness rescue.

A deaf hiker, having fallen 600 feet down a mountain, was finally spotted by a rescue helicopter wrapped in a sleeping bag. Upon closer approach, they discovered she wasn’t alone.

Deaf Hiker

Undeterred by her disability, Amelia Milling, a deaf 21-year-old Rochester Institute of Technology student, embarked on a daring solo hike across Crow Pass, a challenging 23-mile trail nestled in Alaska’s Chugach mountain range. However, her adventure took a harrowing turn on the second day when she encountered snow, leading to a fall that broke her trekking poles and sent her tumbling over 300 feet down a steep hill, ultimately colliding with a large boulder.

“I felt like I was flying, Amelia recounted of the terrifying descent. Upon landing, she found herself battered and bleeding, initially fearing her dream hike had come to an abrupt end. However, the reality was far graver. Despite miraculously escaping without any broken bones, she now faced the daunting task of navigating her way back to safety alone, amidst the icy terrain. Yet, amidst her despair, she discovered she was not alone in her predicament.

The deaf hiker recounted the sudden appearance of a white dog, initially mistaken for a wolf until she noticed the bone-shaped tag identifying him as Nanook, the 7-year-old husky. Affectionately called “Nookie,” he wore a tag with his owner’s address, but it was Amelia who would be guided back home by him.

Deaf Hiker

Over the next day and a half, Nookie remained steadfastly by Amelia’s side. He gave me the motivation to get up and walk another seven miles, she recalled. If he didn’t show up, I probably wouldn’t have gotten back up and kept walking that much.  Nookie’s actions earned him the title of “Alaska’s version of Lassie” for his pivotal role in rescuing her.

Amelia and Nookie continued hiking until nightfall, with Nookie faithfully accompanying her. I realized he really was sticking with me when he greeted me in the morning when I unzipped my tent. He had stayed the entire night next to me,” Amelia recalled.

His presence proved crucial when Amelia faced a perilous situation at the Eagle River crossing, a frigid and swift river. Despite her attempts to cross, she failed, and on her second try, she was swept away by the current. I attempted to cross it twice with no success. On the second time, I fell and the water really pulled me, Amelia said. I was stuck in the water for more than 15 minutes until Nookie bit my backpack and pulled.”

The deaf hiker, hypothermic and disoriented, sought refuge in her sleeping bag for warmth. Despite its dryness, stashed securely in her backpack, safety remained elusive. Nanook, sensing her distress, persistently licked her as she lay there, hoping to recover, but to no avail, as Sharon Milling, Amelia’s mother, recounted.

Deaf Hiker

Amelia contemplated another attempt at crossing the river after warming up, yet Nanook refused to relent. His unwavering persistence proved crucial. After a while, I took the SPOT (satellite messenger) out of my pocket and then put it on the ground next to my head. When I did that, Nanook went into circles. That’s when I realized that I really was not OK and that he was telling me to press it, Amelia reflected. I’m telling you, the moment I finally pressed it, (he) stopped acting crazy, walked a few feet away, and took a nap. I don’t know how but he knew.”

After the “SOS” button on her SPOT device alerted Alaska State Troopers and notified her family, the injured deaf hiker remained by the river for hours. Despite her efforts to stay awake, exhaustion prevailed, and she succumbed to numbness. Eventually, troopers in a helicopter spotted her, wrapped in her red sleeping bag, with Nookie curled up beside her.

Deaf Hiker

Following her rescue, Amelia underwent a check-up at a medical center in Anchorage, while Nookie was safely returned home. Scott Swift, Nookie’s owner, expressed his astonishment: I was definitely pretty floored. It sends chills up my spine when I think about it. I certainly didn’t train him to do anything like this. It’s a pretty powerful feeling that this dog had this instinctual ability to want to go help people.”

Written by DADADEL

Adelaida, the founder of Dadadel Creative, boasts a multifaceted background, blending expertise in software engineering, copywriting, and digital marketing. Prior to establishing her agency, she honed her skills as the former Head of the News Department at a regional media outlet, and also amassing 18 years of experience as a host. She has a penchant for sarcasm, a passion for lifestyle topics, and an undeniable love for cats.

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