Little Gabe Allbritton was with his grandmother yesterday just outside Brookhaven, Miss., when family members think he heard something he had been waiting to hear for days: the sound of his missing dog, the Clarion-Ledger reports. But when he turned to follow the sound, he suddenly disappeared, falling down a 23-foot-deep hole in a rural yard and jump-starting a rescue attempt that would take more than three hours, notes ABC News. The dog, which had been missing for several days, and Gabe somehow fell through an opening that was only 18 inches wide, requiring the assistance of a trench rescue team to retrieve them, per the Daily Leader. Complicating matters was the fact that, even though he wasn't stuck, Gabe didn't fully understand how to attach the rope that rescuers sent down into the hole to pull him up.
"We had people show up with trackhoes ... with all kinds of equipment just to come out and help," the Lincoln County sheriff tells ABC, adding to the Clarion-Ledger, "Just seeing him so close but so far was the hardest part." Two firemen handling the rope were finally able to talk him through the attachment process and they pulled him up to safety around 8pm, followed shortly by his dog, the Clarion-Ledger reports. "When we got him to the top of the hole and were able to get our hands on him, we were ecstatic," a fire captain tells the paper. Gabe was uninjured, and a Lincoln County official told the Leader that rescuers were ready to treat the boy to some fun. "We promised him a ride on a fire truck and we're going to give that to him before we leave here tonight," he told the paper. (A climber in Nepal fell 70 feet into a crevasse and lived to tell the tale.)