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K-9 and neighbourly help saves chilled Lapland senior

Lapland police praised a local resident for exemplary actions and concern, without which his older neighbour would likely have died. They say the case also shows up the importance of police dogs and their handlers.

Suomen Poliisikoira ry:n hihamerkki
Finnish police often use dogs to help find missing persons. Image: Nina Keski-Korpela / Yle

On Wednesday morning a retired man in the village of Kaakamo, Finnish Lapland, noticed that his 87-year-old neighbour seemed to be missing.

Judging from a broom leaning against the front door and footprints in the 10-centimetre-deep snow, he realised that his neighbour was outdoors somewhere. The man lives alone and has trouble getting around.

The man looked for his elderly neighbour for about an hour before notifying the police. A patrol arrived, including a police dog named Rodi.

Cold night in the snow

It only took Rodi about half an hour to locate the missing man, lying at the foot of a spruce tree. He was suffering from hypothermia, but still conscious. An ambulance took him to hospital.

Police believe that the man had been outside all night – when the temperature had hovered around the freezing point.

In a statement, the Lapland Police Department praised the neighbour for his exemplary actions and concern, without which the older man would likely have died. It says the case also points to the importance of the canine police.

Kaakamo is in the municipality of Tornio, near Kemi and the Swedish border.

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