‘Hero’ teen burrows head-first into 7ft hole to rescue trapped lamb

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A brave teenager burrowed almost waist-deep into a hole under a giant rock to rescue a trapped lamb.

Corban Denize, 14, was with his dad Brendan, 46, and sister Katie, 17, on the family’s farm near Waitomo in New Zealand when his grandfather told them a worried ewe was lingering around a rock on August 29.

Despite the three of them using a torch to peer into the hole and making sheep sounds, they could not see or hear anything inside.

They initially turned to walk away, but Brendan said a ‘sixth sense’ that they ‘hadn’t given it 100% effort’ kicked in and the trio went back and started digging at the opening to make it wider.

Footage shot by Katie shows Corban climbing head-first into the hole while their dad holds him by the ankle to make sure he doesn’t fall in any deeper.

As Brendan hoists his son out, a shocked Corban can be heard saying: ‘Oh, it’s alive.’

Holding the two-day-old lamb by one leg, he triumphantly adds: ‘I saved it,’ before passing it over to his dad and jokes: ‘You be thankful, lamb.’

Corban with one of the family’s lambs (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

The heart-warming clip has been viewed more than 143,000 times since the proud dad posted it on Facebook.

Corban said of the rescue: ‘It was a pretty tight squeeze and wasn’t the most comfortable down there, but I just stuck myself in there and luckily found the lamb.

‘I thought it was dead at first but then as I was pulling it out I could feel it moving. That was really exciting, seeing it come out and making sure it was alive. It was a big relief.

‘I had a lot of faith in my dad that he’d manage to pull me out, but it was great that he pulled me out and the lamb too. We’re glad we decided to turn around and go back.’

Brendan said they think the lamb was stuck in the hole for up to 18 hours.

He added: ‘When we turned to walk away, we all stopped and agreed there was something pulling us back. We decided we hadn’t given it 100% effort.

The brave teenageer burrowed head-first into the pitch black hole (Picture: Kennedy News/Ripples Retreat)
The family was stunned when the lamb emerged alive (Picture: Kennedy News/Ripples Retreat)

‘We opened the hole up with a spade for a few minutes, and it was enough to get Corban’s shoulders down, so he went down there blind.

‘He’s pretty brave, but he was nervous. When he pulled out the lamb we were so surprised. Not just that there was a lamb but that it was alive.

‘He’s a very adventurous, capable farm boy. I was telling him to get in there, but he’s quite the hero.

‘I made some jokes that he might not be able to get out, but the tone of his reply told me that he wasn’t finding that funny. But all through this he was in great spirits.

‘It was quite tight because for every spade of dirt we removed some of the soil would fall down into the hole, so we were aware there’s no point in taking out dirt to fill the hole in.

‘We were just relying on our sixth sense that there was something down there and we needed to give it every opportunity to prove to ourselves that we’d done a good job.

‘If I was there on my own there’s no way I would have been able to commit to the hole because I wouldn’t have had someone to pull me out. I’d have done an average job and just walked away.

‘My initial thoughts were how lucky am I to have cool kids and my second thought was how lucky this lamb was that we went back.’

Brendan, who also lives with wife Trudy Denize, 47, and third child 13-year-old Harley Denize, runs Ripples Retreat holiday lodge on their land as well as their family farming business.

Brendan’s Facebook post, which has racked up more than 1,700 likes, 250 comments and 1,800 shares, was captioned: ‘Bl**dy handy having kids home. Everyday farm life near Waitomo’.

Carol Davies commented: ‘Brave lad. No way would I have stuck my head down that hole. Well done both. And they say we don’t care about our stock. Look at dad’s delighted face.’

Shanelle Kennedy explained: ‘Awh. I thought his mate was just stuck, but no, they saved the baby!’

John Magee said: ‘Absolutely wonderful. That’s a real hero!’

Lauren McGlone added: ‘That is brilliant. What a cool kid.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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