The team were contacted to assistance in locating six hounds missing in the St Allen area. The owners had searched for two days themselves, including drafting in drones and off-road vehicles, the owners asked us to look at the possibility that the dogs had fallen down one of several mine shafts in the area. Incredibly, shining torches down the first shaft we checked revealed several pairs of eyes looking back up at us. Further team members and equipment were brought in and we were able to get a team member down to the dogs to check on their welfare, finding four alive and well, one obviously injured and another sadly deceased. Without any specialist animal-handling equipment, reluctant dogs and the risk of triggering a partial collapse of the top of the shaft (not to mention the rapidly-deteriorating weather) we took the difficult decision to leave the dogs in situ and return in the morning to complete the rescue with the assistance of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.
Having stood-down at 01:30, team members were back on site at 09:30 and worked alongside CFRS crews from Truro and Bodmin to re-rig the rescue and were able to lower two people into the shaft. This allowed the dogs to be corralled and hoisted back up to the surface one by one. The four uninjured dogs were all able to walk back to their owners, with the injured dog carried out to waiting vets. Finally, the deceased dog was brought back to the surface.
This was a great demonstration of inter-agency working and we’re proud to have helped to bring the four uninjured dogs back to their owners. The team often work alongside CFRS on technical rescues and days such as this further develop our working partnership.