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Billings firefighters rescue boy from Rims after he tries to save family cat

Billings Rims Rescue
Posted at 8:44 PM, Sep 24, 2023

BILLINGS — A Billings boy found himself in a scary situation on the Rims Sunday afternoon after he got stuck on a steep, rocky ledge while trying to reach his cat, Bruce.

Van Sloan, 11, said he was climbing up to reach Bruce and then was not able to climb down.

His mother, who had been helping him look for the cat, called 9-1-1 after trying unsuccessfully to help Sloan down.

Billings fire crews arrived quickly and determined the best method for getting to Sloan would be rappelling from the top of the Rims at Swords Park. A firefighter rappelled to Sloan, buckled him into an attached harness, and took him safely to the ground.

A Billings firefighter reaches Van Sloan

No one was injured in the incident and Sloan said he was extremely relieved when firefighters arrived.

"To be honest, I was actually thinking that I was going to die there because I was pretty hot and thirsty," Sloan said. "I was just a big, giant train wreck."

After all was said and done, Sloan had a message for his rescuers: "Thank you so much, I don't know how I could ever repay you."

As for Bruce, Sloan said after he caught the cat, he sidled away again. Bruce could be seen watching the fire crews in action from a ledge above Sloan. Sloan said he will not be climbing up again to chase the cat and feels confident Bruce will come home when he's hungry.

Bruce, Sloan's cat, stands next to a Billings firefighter during the rescue