West Coast man and his dog rescued from eight-metre-deep cave

NZ 19/06/2019

A 49-year-old man and his dog were successfully rescued by emergency services, after being trapped eight metres down a West Coast cave.

Mike Steenhauer and his dog Digby spent three hours stuck in the crevasse at Limestone Track in Marsden, near Greymouth.

Steenhauer was clearing gorse in the area when Digby ran off.    

"We heard some faint whimpering and whining and then we just discovered that he was way down a crevasse about eight or nine metres deep."

Steenhauer followed the dog down the cave with a rope, hoping to free him, but they both became stuck.

A neighbour alerted the emergency services, and a team from Cave Search and Rescue was called in to help.

Mike Steenhauer says he and Digby had huddled together to help keep each other warm.

"I thought that I could get out by myself if I really had to, if nobody ever showed up, but I don't think I could have climbed out with the dog because it was too slippery and too cold and a bit of a death trap down there."    

Both man and man's best friend were uninjured after their long wait underground, Steenhauer proving he's one very loyal pet owner.