A dog was was rescued by firefighters after surviving a 10 metre plunge down a well on Boxing Day. Specialist fire crews from Droitwich, Malvern and Pershore, along with a team from Upton were called at around 1.30pm to winch cocker spaniel Lilly to safety after she had been trapped in the dry well for four-and-a-half hours. It is thought Lilly had been out with her owners when she picked up the scent of a bird and disappeared into woodland near Upton, Worcestershire. The well she tumbled down was obscured by undergrowth and after two-and-a-half hours of searching on hands and knees her owners found her by shining a mobile phone light down the pit.
Incident commander Gary Jay, from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "She was just running around in circles at the bottom. We knew it [the rescue] was quite straightforward. She came out very successfully."
Malvern-based firefighter Neil Bevan was lowered into the one metre wide gap to place Lilly, who had suffered a grazed eye in the fall, into a special dog harness and hoist her to safety.
After a quick check-over and a lot of fussing by the fire officers, she was returned to her owners who wrapped her up in a jacket and took her to the vets.
Commander Jay said: "She was a little bit shaken so I think there was plenty of cuddles.
We do get quite a few incidents which we try not to remember but this is one of the heart warming ones."
On the scene was the specialist animal rescue team from Pershore, the rope rescue section from Malvern and the urban search and rescue (USAR) crew from Droitwich, which is trained in working with confined spaces.
Chris Jelfs, White Watch Commander at Droitwich Fire Station, said: "As far as I can make out Lilly is a gun dog.
We believe that she had gone into some scrub land, she had gone missing and because she is trained not to bark they couldn't find where she was.
Malvern initially set up a rope access system. We gas monitored the well, put confined space procedures in place and once we were happy with the conditions we lowered a rope rescue person down the well to get Lilly."
The Droitwich team force ventilated the well to ensure it was safe for firefighter Bevan to descend the drop to reach Lilly.
Crew commander Jelfs, who is also a dog owner, added: "We go to a lot of incidents in our career, some you do not want to remember and some you want to remember, and that was a nice memorable one. It was a happy ending. She is a beautiful little dog."
David Whitehead, crew commander in Malvern, said he was surprised Lilly had not suffered more significant injuries in the fall.
He said: "For a drop of that distance I'm quite surprised she got no injuries really. We have had a couple of these before with covered over wells and dogs have fallen down and they are pretty resilient animals.
We are the main rope rescue team for the brigade. Without out specialist training it would be quite awkward and quite dangerous really. "