Woman rescued in Malibu from cement pipe

Mika Fukushima fell down a 40-foot deep pipe in Puerco Canyon while she was searching for a friend's dog and her dog, Taro, pictured above, a black lab mix.

The West Los Angeles resident had been looking for her friend’s lost dog, as well as her black lab mix that has been missing since August.

By Laura Tate/Editor

A 44-year-old woman was rescued by the Malibu Mountain Rescue Team Thanksgiving evening after being stuck in a cement pipe in Puerco Canyon for almost 13 hours.

Thanksgiving morning, Mika Fukushima, a West Los Angeles resident, and friends were looking for her friend’s dog, a Jack Russell terrier, which she had been caring for and was lost the day before. She was also looking for her dog, Taro, a black lab mix, which has been missing since August.

Fukushima, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said she had separated from her friends to look for the dogs and went down a hill. “Next thing, I was stuck in the hole,” Fukushima said. “It was covered by branches and bushes,” so she didn’t see it, she added.

Fukushima said she had a cell phone, Walkie Talkie and a whistle with her, but the phone and the two-way radio did not get any signals in the 40-foot deep pipe, which was about 20 yards from PCH. She said she blew the whistle, but no one heard it.

Fukushima said she was not worried that she wouldn’t be found.

“I knew [I would] be rescued,” she said. “I was thinking maybe in the morning. I knew people would start wondering, and start looking.” However, she didn’t think a search would be conducted in the dark.

Although she said she wasn’t scared, she did say that it was “a little cold. My feet were under water, two feet deep. I tried to climb out, but there was nothing to grab, just a concrete round hole.”

“I waited and waited,” Fukushima said, “and around 11:30 p.m., I heard a voice, and started yelling for help.”

The search and rescue team was ready to release Mountain Rescue canines, said Sgt. Gary Stevens of the Lost Hills Sheriffs Department, when she was found. A tripod device was positioned over the cement pipe in order to hoist her out of the pipe. Paramedics then took her to a local hospital. She was not injured.

Despite her ordeal, Fukushima went out Saturday and continued looking for her friend’s dog.

“I felt awful, I lost my dog and have been looking for him since August, so I know how it felt,” she said. ” … I needed to find the dog (mine too), because I couldn’t see my friend’s face … crying … just awful.”

Fukushima found the terrier that afternoon and said it was fine. “The dog was much cleaner than I was when I was rescued,” she said.

However, Fukushima is still looking for her black lab, for which she has advertised a $5,000 reward for any information leading to its return. She even went to local psychic Averi Torres who told her that she feels her dog is still alive and might be in the Valley somewhere, and that someone is taking care of Taro.

“I feel that he will come back to the same place where we separated,” Fukushima, who has been hiking in the area for almost five years, said. “My dog knows the area very well.”

If anyone has seen Taro, or has information that might help, they may call 310.391.7503 or 310. 995.7503.

Johalmo Morales contributed to this story.