Dog Survives 6 Days in Atacama Desert After Jumping from Airplane

After falling from an airplane and roaming through the Atacama Desert for 6 days, “Gaspar the miracle dog” was recently rescued and reunited with his owner.

Surviving the harsh Atacame Desert for almost a week is a challenge for any human, let alone a scared dachsund that happened to have fallen out of an airplane at landing. So it’s no wonder that 2-year-old Gaspar has been dubbed a “miracle dog” for defying the odds and making it out alive out of the driest desert on Earth.

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Gaspar’s epic adventure began on June 29th, while traveling with his owner’s best friend, from Santiago de Chile to Iquique, a city in northern Chile. The dog’s owner, Janis Cavieres, had traveled there a couple of days earlier, by bus, and had asked her friend Ligia Gallardo  to take Gaspar and join her in Iquique via an internal flight. As per protocol, the dachsund was placed in a pet carrier and made the journey in the plane’s cargo hold. Only, upon landing, when Ligia went to retrieve Gaspar, airport officials told her that there had been an accident and that they had lost him.

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No one knows exactly what happened, but airline officials suspect that Gaspar’s cage must have fallen from where it had been placed, when the airplane landed. The impact was so strong that the pet carrier door popped open and the dog was accidentally let loose. Then, when the cargo hold opened, the scared and disoriented dachsund jumped out and headed straight for the nearby Atacama Desert.

Upon hearing the news from her friend, owner Janis Cavieres went on social media an organized a search operation to find Gaspar. The airline and a local army unit also got involved in the search, but despite having been spotted wondering through the desert several times, Gaspar could not be rescued. Finally, after six days of searching, the two-year-old miracle dog was finally rescued and he is now back in his owner’s loving arms.

“He was dirty, stressed and malnourished. He was missing for six days and lost lot of weight,” Paola Bravo, the vet who attended to Gaspar after his rescue, told Chilean reporters. Despite losing about three of the nine kilos he weighed before his ordeal, Gaspar is now feeling much better and gaining weight.

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The airline has assumed responsibility for Gaspar’s escape and it is now conducting an internal investigation to establish whether or not the incident was caused by human error.

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