Joaquín with Tanka back at the scene of the incident. / FRANCIS SILVA

"My dog saved my life, rescuers only found the well I fell into because of her barking"

Emergency services followed the noise of Tanka's barking in the dark of night to locate the spot where Joaquín had been trapped down a hole for some six hours in the Malaga town of Rincón de la Victoria

Irene Quirante

A 28-year-old man spent around six hours trapped in a well near Rincón de la Victoria’s cemetery on Wednesday, until he was rescued in the dark of night thanks to his dog leading emergency services to his aid. He had survived the fall by clinging to a pipe but remained stuck underground until a local resident eventually heard his cries for help and called the 112 emergency number.

The man was finally rescued by the fire brigade, who found him to be exhausted and had a number of bruises.

Joaquín had been out walking with his dog Tanka when he stepped onto a broken wall and from there fell into the well. According to sources, the pipe he was able to cling to was about three metres below ground level.

At first, Joaquín tried to climb his way out of the well. He is a fit, young man used to playing sports, he explained, and he clung to the idea that he could make it. “I tried and tried and tried, until I ran out of steam and could see that it would be impossible to get out on my own,” he said. It was then that he, in a desperate state, began to scream for help.

Despite his cries for assistance it was some time before a local resident finally heard his pleas for help in the distance. By this time it was dark and the resident could not see where the cries for help were coming from, so he contacted the 112 emergency service at around 10.30pm.

The police began a search of the area and although it was dark the Joaquín's dog Tanka, who hadn’t moved from the area near the well and was still barking, helped the emergency services to find him at 12.30am. Joaquín was taken by ambulance to the Malaga’s Regional University Hospital for observation overnight but was released the next morning and able to return home, where he was greeted with licks by his dog.

“There was a moment when I was about to give up, I thought... this is as far as we've come; but I remembered my father, may he rest in peace: he gave me the strength to fight", said Joaquín, aware that, despite the "enormous fright" he experienced, he is "lucky" to be able to tell the story.

According to Joaquín, Tanka came into his life about a year ago. She was about 15 days old when he found her abandoned at a fuel station in Cártama. “They had left her there to die. She was in a cardboard box, full of worms... the poor thing", he recalled.