PITTSBURGH – A Canadian who helped save a man from falling down a ravine is among 19 people being honoured with a medal from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
Robert Conant, who is from the community of Stoney Creek, Ont., is being recognized for his efforts in saving 23-year-old Daniel Fredericks in April 2015.
The incident took place in Oakville, Ont., when Fredericks slid down the steep wall of a ravine at a provincial park to recover his dog but became stranded in the process, not far from an abrupt drop. He grabbed a branch of a tree with one arm and secured his dog with the other.
The commission says 29-year-old Conant, an Ontario Provincial Police officer who was on duty at the time, decided there wasn’t enough time to wait for trained rescuers to arrive, so he tied one end of a worn rope found at the scene around his chest, had the other end tied to a tree root and then, turning to face the ravine, lowered himself down to Fredericks.
The commission says Conant helped reposition Fredericks so he straddled the tree branch before responding firefighters used a series of ropes and a harness to eventually rescue both men and the dog from the cliff face.
Conant suffered a bruised chest as a result of his actions and Fredericks sustained a minor injury but both recovered.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was endowed and founded by the late steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer, who died trying to rescue others.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash several times a year. It has given away US$39.1 million to 9,953 awardees or their families since 1904.
Others honoured with the latest round of medals announced Monday included a Colorado physician who was fatally shot while trying to help his neighbour after she was wounded in a domestic shooting, a California woman who saved a man from being struck by a train when his vehicle crashed onto raildroad tracks, and a Michigan man who saved a boy from a townhouse fire.
— with files from the Associated Press
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