Haytor Rock

On the evening of 13th October 2022, Devon Cave Rescue Organisation were involved in a multi agency Rescue of a dog trapped underground at Haytor, Dartmoor.

Shortly after 1930hrs we were called out by our collegues and friends at Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team - Ashburton to assist them and our collegues at Bovey Tracey Fire Station with the Rescue of a beautiful dog, called Jess, who had become trapped in an old mine/quarry spoil heap.

Jess had decided that, whilst out walking with her Dad, she would give caving a crack and disappeared off into a large granite spoil heap (a large pile of huge granite boulders that are precariously balanced on top of each other). Unfortunately Jess got herself through a series of very narrow voids into a small chamber and despite attempts to call her out it was recognised that she was truly trapped underground with some concern there had been a collapse inside the boulder pile.

After an initial search by a surface team it was recognised that this would be a job best suited to the specialist skills and knowledge that our team possess. The team got to work locating Jess within the boulder ruckle helped by her dad who had already began moving some rubble which is where the team focused their efforts.

We very carefully and slowly removed rubble and boulders, all the time monitoring for movement to minimise the risk to Jess and team members working in the area. After a couple of hours of careful teamwork we were able to access the void and release Jess from her ordeal into the care of a vet on the Ashburton team.

Jess appears well and has said she may give caving another go but next time will go with a guide and with proper equipment. Thankfully it won't be in the same place as the team backfilled the voids to prevent further accidents in the future.

Tonight's effort was a fantastic example of joined up multi agency working amongst several services. It was also a good opportunity for other teams to see what we do, as our work is normally done underground and out of sight.

We wish Jess a speedy and full recovery after her ordeal.

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