A dog has been miraculously saved after falling in a hidden moorland hole.
The family of Mable the cocker spaniel were distraught when she suddenly disappeared on Wessenden Moor around 3pm on Saturday afternoon, thinking she had been lost forever.
But sadness turned to joy when an eagle-eyed firefighter sent to try find the dog managed to spot her by chance six feet down a concealed crevice, due to the glint of her eyes.
A technical rescue crew from Cleckheaton had to carry their equipment for one hour on foot to reach the scene after being called by the desperate owners.
“We had to park up by Wessenden Lodge and had to carry generators and digging equipment across the moor to reach the family,” said Colin Brown, watch commander.
“It was raining sideways but we had to have a try at rescuing her.
“We decided to search the holes – it was quite a risky operation.
“We lowered one of our guys down by his ankles and by chance he managed to spot the dog by the glint of its eyes.
“It had become totally wedged in – we think it had fallen then tried to move to a light shaft.”
More hard work then began.
“We had no option but to dig her out by hand because there was no way she could’ve got out on her own,” said watch commander Brown.
“It took us about an hour and a half and we were up to our eyeballs in mud.
“But finally we got down to her and one of the firefighters had to crawl down to pull her out.
“She didn’t have a scratch on her and was as happy as Larry to see us and her family.
“It was risky but rewarding.”
Her rescue is a good luck story from an area notorious for its hidden holes that have claimed the lives of dogs and injured walkers.
Now the incident has encouraged Watch commander Brown to urge caution to walkers.
His team left the hole exposed so that it will be easier for others to spot and avoid.
“There are numerous dangerous passageways on the moor,” he said.
“They are created by underground water flow, which has eroded the soil.
“Several dogs have gone missing and we’ve had to conduct several rescues after people and animals have fallen in them.
“They can kill dogs and people can easily break their legs by falling down them.”