Drone Helps Reunite Hiker with Lost Dog in Catskill Mountains

In a heartwarming tale of determination and community support, a hiker named Zach Barriga was reunited with his lost dog, Annie, thanks to the help of a state-of-the-art drone and its operator, Justin Vickers, reports News 10.

A Harrowing Ordeal

Zach and Annie were returning from a 14-mile hike near Round Top in the Catskill Mountains when Zach slipped on ice and fell down a small cliff. While Zach was unharmed, Annie was stranded on the cliff above him, and he couldn't reach her. With his phone battery at just three percent, no flashlight, and wet clothes, Zach had to make the difficult decision to leave Annie behind and seek help.

A Community Comes Together

Zach's father, John Barriga, took to social media to ask for assistance in finding Annie. The response was overwhelming, with many people driving to various trails in the Catskills to call out for the lost dog. One of those who answered the call was Justin Vickers, owner of Upstate Services, who drove more than an hour to meet Zach and help with the search.

Drone Technology to the Rescue

Despite the daunting size of the mountains, Vickers launched his drone to search for Annie. After a couple of hours, he spotted a small black dot next to a stream. “I told them it could be the missing dog or it could be a small black bear. We have those in these mountains,” Vickers said.

Drone Helps Reunite Hiker With Lost Dog In Catskill Mountains 2

A Happy Reunion

Zach hiked for an hour towards the black dot, which turned out to be his beloved friend, Annie. She was cut up, dirty, and had lost some weight, but was otherwise okay. Zach's father expressed his relief, saying, “When Zach called to tell me they found her and she was alive, all I could say was thank God.”

A Testament to Perseverance

Zach's dedication to finding Annie was remarkable. “If you measure from the time I started searching until I found her, I walked 53 miles through the mountains, total,” he said, the equivalent of running two marathons back-to-back with little sleep and in dangerous conditions.

A Lesson Learned

Annie is now hiking with Zach again, staying close by his side. She also wears a special tracking device on her collar to ensure that if she ever gets separated again, Zach will know exactly where to find her. Zach expressed his gratitude for everyone's help, saying, “She's my best friend. I'm so grateful to have her home.”

This story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, community support, and the innovative use of in operations. It also highlights the deep bond between humans and their animal companions, and the lengths we will go to ensure their safety and well-being.

Photos courtesy of News 10, John Gray, and Justin Vickers.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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