RESCUERS struggled in vain to rescue a dog that became trapped underground after it disappeared while chasing a fox.

The terrier-type dog chased it into a maze of limestone passages on the Raby Estates land at Club Gill Farm, near Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham.

The terrier was out with its gamekeeper owners when it vanished underground last Friday. (December 7) The fox later reappeared above ground.

Attempts by the estate staff to entice the dog out over the weekend failed.

The Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team were called in to mount a rescue bid at 3pm yesterday (Monday, December 10).

Pete Bell, rescue team leader said “The teams worked together with the assistance of the gamekeepers for eight hours to enlarge the entrance to the chambers.

“The weather and conditions on Monday evening were not good. It was very cold with snow showers and because of the recent rain the ground was extremely muddy.

“We eventually broke through to the main chamber which was still very narrow but disappointingly there was no sign of the terrier.

“Food was left inside the chamber and it will be checked over the next few days by the gamekeepers."

Members of the Cumbria Ore Mines Rescue Unit also assisted with the rescue bid. No-one at the estates could confirm if the dog had surfaced yet.