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Man 'got stuck' trying to rescue his dog trapped in West Coast cave


A man and his dog have been rescued after two hours stuck eight metres down a cave on the West Coast.

Mike Steenhauer, 49, was walking his dog Digby in Marsden near Greymouth this afternoon when the canine fell down a crevice and became stuck.

Venturing into the cave to save it, Mr Steenhauer also found himself in trouble, and realising he was 500 metres away from anyone, he called emergency services for help.

Speaking from an emergency services vehicle after his rescue, Mr Steenhauer told 1 NEWS it was cold in the cave after he "got stuck".

He said once he reached the dog, "I couldn't pull him out, he was stuck so hard. And I couldn't move him and I ended up getting him on top of me. And I kept him warm and he kept me warm. And then they threw some blankets down". 

Kane Steenhauer, son of rescued man Mike Steenhauer, with rescued dog Digby. Source: 1 NEWS

Chief Fire Officer Lee Swinburn said it was one of the coldest nights of the year so far, but very good outcome.

"No injuries to both the dog and the occupant that was trapped down the cave. Good combined effort from local cave and rescue team as well as firefighters and police on scene. so really good outcome."

Police say Mr Steenhauer and Digby were cold and wet but otherwise in good spirits and that it is a good reminder to always be prepared for winter conditions. 

The alarm was raised to the incident on Limestone track around 3.10pm, with units from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, ambulance and police in attendance.  

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Authorities said the duo were about eight metres down the cave. Source: 1 NEWS

Cave Search and Rescue members arrived on scene and secured safety lines into the cave.

They prepared a harness for a dog weighing up to 35kg, to get the dog out of the cave first.   

Mr Steenhauer was then brought out safe and well.

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Mike Steenhauer's drama unfolded when his dog Digby in fell down a crevice and he went in to save the canine. Source: 1 NEWS