A dog owner has spoken of her relief after her pet was rescued when he fell down a 50ft SINKHOLE.
Rusty, a cocker spaniel collie cross, suddenly disappeared at a camping site where Lisa Westlake and partner Jonathan Winnan had gone for a weekend break.
They went looking for him but could not see him anywhere – until they heard his distant barking.
The couple followed the sound and found the 18 month-old peering from the bottom of a metre-wide sinkhole that had suddenly appeared in the car park.
But he was around 50ft down so they dialled 999 and a team of 17 firemen went to the rescue in Ashton, nr Helston, Cornwall.
Fire fighter Brett Gray was lowered down the hole and he lifted Rusty safely back to the surface in a net.
Relieved LIsa, 34, a mother-of-two who works for Cornwall Port Health Authority, said Rusty was shaken but physically unharmed by his ordeal.
She said: “Rusty had gone across to the other side of the car park when some other dog owners turned up to take their pet for a walk.
“This couple went off for a walk and Rusty just disappeared. We thought he must have followed them. We hunted but could not find him. He had just gone.
“We then heard him barking and it sounded like he was in something. We looked for about 15 minutes and then saw the hole near where we parked the van.
“I said I think he is at the bottom of the hole. I could see his little eyes peering back at you.
“It was no bigger than a drain cover but was about 15 metres deep. I was lucky I did not fall in it. A human could easily have fallen.”
Lisa, from Falmouth, Cornwall, added: “During the rescue I just wanted to stay near the hole so he could hear our voices.
“I wasn’t worried – the firefighters kept everything calm throughout.
“There wasn’t a scratch on him when he came up. He was very quiet and I think a bit in shock but he is back playing with his ball today and is absolutely fine.
“The firefighters were absolutely amazing. We cannot praise them enough.
“We apologised for wasting their time and money and they just told us that is what they are here for and we did not know a giant sinkhole would open up in front of our dog.”
Andy Mortimore, watch manager for Tolvaddon fire station, said: “We got there and assessed the situation before committing one fire fighter – Brett Gray – on a two line system to go down.
“He went down to the dog and we then sent down an animal net to put him into and retrieved Brett and Rusty.
“We brought both up together and reunited them with the owners.
“They were absolutely delighted and we are thrilled to report the dog appeared to be uninjured despite its ordeal.”
Andy added: “The top soil opened up when the dog was on it. It could easily have been someone parked up to it and gone straight down it.”