At 19h40, Friday, 25th December, NSRI Port Elizabeth were alerted by concerned members of the public reporting two Dachshunds trapped in a hole at a quarry on Salem Way, Westering, Port Elizabeth.
A distraught local resident, Mrs Daniels, had approached neighbours for assistance after her two dogs, Brody and Levi, had chased a dassie, while she was walking her dogs close to her home. The two dogs had gone down a hole in amongst the quarry rubble and debris which had collapsed onto both of her dogs. Neighbours suggested calling the NSRI for assistance.
NSRI Port Elizabeth alerted EC Government Health EMS rescue and the Nelson Mandela Bay Fire and Rescue Services while NSRI Port Elizabeth crew members, who live nearby, responded to investigate. Coastal Rescue and the Mountain Club of South Africa – Search and Rescue were also asked to assist.
On arrival on the scene NSRI Port Elizabeth crew members Alan Singman, Ryan Meyer and Natasha Smith found the two dogs trapped in a deep hole under rubble, mud, cement blocks, debris and mud that had collapsed. Only one dog could be heard barking but it was immediately obvious that to free the dogs would be a challenge and risky.
Mrs Daniels was found desperately trying to dig through the mud and rubble to reach her dogs and the NSRI crew members began to clear as much of the rubble as they could despite fears of a further collapse.
Using a spade provided by the Fire and Rescue Services and with the scene illuminated by torches and flood lights Alan, in a confined space, was able to dig deeper into the collapsed tunnel but still only Brody could be heard barking and it became clear that rubble had collapsed onto both dogs pinning them to the ground deep inside a narrow confined tunnel.
Despite the risk of a further collapse Alan continued to dig and eventually found Brody. After close to two hours of digging, using a hook line, Alan was able to reach Brody and pull him free. Brody was handed into the care of his owner and he was not injured.
Although still trapped Levi was also barking by now although his bark seemed muffled suggesting the roof of the hole was on the upper part of his body and head.
The confined space allowed no more than one rescuer into the hole and Alan pressed on mindful that at any stage the tunnel could collapse further.
Efforts to free Levi continued and about 25 minutes later Levi was reached and also found to be pinned under mud, debris and sand but with further digging and clearing Alan was able to grab hold of Levi and he was pulled free from the hole and he was handed into the care of his owner and was also not injured.
The two dogs were soon running around and seemed spritely and unharmed. Mrs Daniels was relieved and she thanked the rescue crews and no further assistance was required.
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