Dog rescued from Shropshire mineshaft

Tess reunited with her owner... picture courtesy Shropshire Star

A two year-old dog survived a 110ft fall down a disused mineshaft after a dramatic joint rescue by a cave rescue team and Shropshire firefighters.

Tess was being taken for a walk by Telford owner Shaun Panter near Minsterley in south Shropshire yesterday afternoon (Monday, July 20th) when the small dog vanished down the shaft landing in a foot of water at the bottom. Tess managed to swim and crawl onto a small ledge above the water line at the entrance to a disused tunnel to await her rescue – seven hours later.

The shocked owner called the RSPCA at 2pm who sent out officer Nayman Dunderdale who immediately called the fire and rescue service for help.

Minsterly firefighters, who could hear the pet whimpering below, attached themselves to lines to see the depth of the well. They called in the Midland Cave Rescue Team for assistance.

Firefighters provided a safety line for cave rescuer Alan Robinson with the help of his team with support from fire crews.

The rescuer descended the 110ft down the shaft linked by radio to fire crews above. He was greeted by welcoming barks from the stranded and bedraggled dog.

Tess was put into a rescue bag and pulled to the surface at 9pm by the rescue teams followed by Alan Robinson – seven hours after the alarm was raised.

"The liaison, team work and positive rapport among all concerned was a credit to those involved and helped to carry out this most unlikely rescue," said south Shropshire firefighter Guy Williams, who warned walkers to beware of the dangers of such shafts which are often near to footpaths.

"Tess is believed to have survived this 110ft fall by landing in the water and then managing to crawl up a few inches onto the ledge leading to a disused tunnel."

"The dog was located on an underground tunnel about a foot above the water in the base of the shaft. It would be fair to say that she was very pleased to see her rescuer and responded with copious barking and a few paws."

"I think it would be fair to say that Tess is one lucky pooch.".

21st July, 2009