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Siara the Colombian Air Force dog skydives for search and rescue missions

Solent News and Photo Agency, July 30, 2017 6:45PM News Corp Australia

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Siara on her fifth and final jump of her training. Picture: Oliver Ehmig media_cameraSiara on her fifth and final jump of her training. Picture: Oliver Ehmig

animals

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Siara, a Colombian Air Force pooch, has jumped out of a plane flying at 14,000ft (more than 4000m) as part of her search and rescue training.

The brave one-year-old Belgian Malinois has been in search and rescue mission training since she was just a few days old.

She’s been conditioned* to cope* with stressful situations in different environments, both day and night, to help find lost people.

Getting ready to go. Picture: Oliver Ehmig media_cameraGetting ready to go. Picture: Oliver Ehmig

And she doesn’t just skydive. She can also access dangerous and treacherous* terrains by truck, abseiling or helicopter when required.

Colombian Air Force chief technician Carlos Andrés Piñeros Ramírez is a specialised combat search and rescue (CSAR) parachutist with 24 years of service.

He took Siara on the fifth and final jump of her training.

When flying through the air, the South American dog behaves like a dog in a car, barking at her fellow jumpers and sniffing the wind.

Photographer Oliver Ehmig said both dog and officer loved the experience.

“At the end of the exercise both of them were euphoric*,” he said.

Siara in the clouds. Picture: Oliver Ehmig media_cameraSiara in the clouds. Picture: Oliver Ehmig

The 38-year-old photographer has been working with the Colombian military for seven years.

“To achieve these images you need to know the environment, but more than that, you must know the jumpers.

“One minute before the jump at 14,000ft I found myself on the ramp of the plane — in that place the wind feels hard,” he said.

“However I am calm, I use a very reliable harness with several anchor* points that prevents me from getting fired from the plane. At that moment I’m just concentrating on not missing the moment I was waiting for.”

Mr Ehmig said his job was a joy.

“When you do something that you are passionate about, I think the feeling is of deep emotion and joy.”

Happy pup. Picture: Oliver Ehmig media_cameraHappy pup. Picture: Oliver Ehmig

GLOSSARY

conditioned: taught
cope: deal
treacherous: scary and dangerous
euphoric: very happy

anchor: holds in place

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1. A silly story

Use the photographs from this article as the inspiration for a short narrative.
Your story could be based around the facts included in the article, or could be quite different, as long as the pictures will still make sense when viewed alongside your writing.
Be sure that your piece of writing follows the correct format for a narrative.

Extension:

Draw additional illustrations to go with your narrative and if you have time complete a published copy.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English

Activity 2: Two men and a dog

Two people and one dog are featured in the news article.
On a sheet of paper folded into three columns, write one name in each column.
Under each name, write down everything you know about that person or animal.
Finally, write one interesting question that you would like to ask or know about each of them.

Extension:

Research some information about the Belgian Malinois dog breed and write an explanation of why you think they have been chosen as a suitable breed for performing search and rescue work.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Antonym challenge

Choose five adjectives from the article.
You can use the vocabulary words if you like.

Create five antonyms for each adjective

Tip: Search online or use a thesaurus or dictionary to assist you if required.

Extension:
Use the words you’ve brainstormed to create some sentences.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP

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