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Mercer Island dog rescued after fall

Islander Min Tibbs hangs on tight to the family dog, Bingo, a 110-pound malamute, after he fell down a ravine off East Mercer Way and was rescued July 11. He was unhurt. - Chad Coleman/Staff Photo
Islander Min Tibbs hangs on tight to the family dog, Bingo, a 110-pound malamute, after he fell down a ravine off East Mercer Way and was rescued July 11. He was unhurt.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Staff Photo

For Chris and Min Tibbs, it was a nightmare. They were out walking their dog, Bingo, in the late morning on July 11 in the 6400 block of  East Mercer Way. The dog wandered near the edge of the ravine, sniffing at something interesting. But he got too close. He slipped and began to fall. Min Tibbs tried to keep him upright, but the dog tumbled forward, slipping out of his collar and down the slope.

Bingo is no ordinary dog. He is a 110-pound Alaskan Malamute.

The couple called for help.

According to Mercer Island firefighter Lt. Steve McCoy, who responded to the call, the angle of the slope of the ravine there is 45 degrees, and the distance to the bottom is 100 feet.

“Luckily, the dog hit a ledge — really just a clump of ferns growing together, about 20 feet down. That kept the dog from falling further,” he said.

Chris Tibbs said that it was probably fortunate that the dog did pull out of the collar, otherwise his wife, Min, who weighs less than the dog, would have fallen, too.

Firefighters roped together to descend to help the dog. They loaded him onto a Stokes basket and hauled him up. “The dog did not struggle,” McCoy said. “He let us help him. He was quite calm.”

“That was a good thing,” McCoy said. “If he had struggled, he would have fallen further.”

Firefighters had just practiced this scenario the week before, McCoy added. “We were well prepared.”

McCoy was assisted by fellow firefighters Al Erickson and Rob Villalobos, and officer Tom Quinn of the Mercer Island Police.

‘Bin go’ are Chinese words for ‘ice dog.’

Emergency and medical personnel  from both Mercer Island and Bellevue were honored on Monday night at the Mercer Island City Council meeting for their professionalism and service in saving the life of Mayor Jim Pearman. Pearman suffered a heart attack as he was driving home on I-90 from a crew workout on Lake Washington on the morning of May 31.

The mayor, 53, exited the freeway on the West Mercer Way ramp and made his way to the North end fire station, got inside then collapsed. Firefighters tended to him and transported him to Overlake Hospital. Doctors determined that he had had two heart attacks.

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