PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Local rescue crews are credited with bringing a man and dog to safety after a terrifying fall. It happened Friday evening in Luzerne County.

The man and dog plummeted nearly 60 feet off a cliff in Plymouth Township. It was a team effort among three fire departments, battling tough terrain and crossing a swift-moving creek, to get the victims to safety.

Some of the firefighters who helped with the rescue are sharing their story with Eyewitness News.

Tactical rescue gear isn’t often used by Nanticoke City Fire Department But when it is, someone’s life is typically on the line.

Firefighters used ropes and a rescue basket to help save two lives Friday after a man and a dog fell nearly 60 feet off the side of a mountain, and onto the banks of Harveys Creek near Maureen’s Ice Cream Stand.

“An eyewitness, who was sitting here at the ice cream stand, heard a lot of noise, and when she looked over, she saw a male who was falling down the side of the cliff with a dog,” said Chief Mark Boncal, with Nanticoke City Fire Department.

Assistant Chief John Polifka and firefighter Keith Munson were first to get to the scene. They were faced with obstacles reaching the injured man, who was stranded on the other side of the swift-moving creek.

“Terrain over there is not very friendly at all, we also had to cross a body of water which makes that even more difficult,” Polifka said. “We had to set up all different kinds of systems and stuff just to get him out.”

With the help of a bystander, Munson was able to find the injured dog downstream.

“We put the dog in the same basket that we put the patient in, and used the same hauling system to bring the dog across. And luckily for us, there was a veterinarian, or someone who worked at a vet’s office who was here,” said Munson. 

Polifka says tactical rescue missions are a team-effort, and this one was a success thanks to back up from Ashley and Hanover Townships. 

It’s a dangerous job which is why Chief Boncal says…

“We want to remind people who are hiking in the area, especially in these mountains, just to be careful, watch what you’re doing, so we don’t have another incident like this happen.”

The seriously injured man was taken by ambulance to a local trauma center. There’s no official word on the extent of his injuries. The rescued dog was alert and taken to a local animal hospital for treatment.