Dog rescued from Hayter quarry at Dartmoor after seven hours

October 15, 2022
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Jess the dog became stuck after a pile of granite boulders collapsed over a hole she had run down at Hayter quarry.

Members from the Devon Cave Rescue Organisation (DCRO) joined firefighters and police to help reunite her with her owner shortly after 23:30 BST on Thursday.

Rescuers had to remove the boulders one by one before she was eventually freed.

Tara Beacroft from the DCRO described the delicate operation as “a bit like the world’s worst game of Jenga”.

“We were basically removing out sections of soil, loose rubble and moving out one boulder at a time,” she said.

“Just trying to ascertain which boulders were positioned where so that we could safely remove each one without collapsing them into the void that Jess was in.

“That was a really long process that took several hours.”

Ms Beacroft said rescuers hit a “turning point” after they had removed enough rubble to be able to see her.

The pooch was sustained by chicken treats as rescuers protected the hole and continued to dig around her.

With the final rocks removed, rescuers managed to wriggle her out of the hole by her harness and reunite her with her owner, Shane Darwood.

“Her little tail was just going absolutely mad,” Ms Beacroft said.

“She was so tired, but so happy to be reunited with her owner. It was quite a moment.”

She said it was a “huge relief” that Jess escaped unharmed.

“We were really confident with what we were doing, but it was quite nerve-wracking with each boulder to make sure that we didn’t drop anything on her,” she said.

“There was no visual of anything underneath us so it was really going with gut feel and the skillset that we have.”

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