A courageous teenager burrowed into a 7ft-deep hole beneath a giant rock to pull a trapped lamb to safety.
Corban Denize, 14, was on the family’s farmland near Waitomo, New Zealand, with his father Brendan, 46, and sister Katie, 17, when his grandfather told them a worried ewe was lingering around a rock on August 29.
Brendan said he and his children initially checked out the ‘tiny’ hole but, despite making sheep sounds, they didn’t hear anything from inside it.
However, a ‘sixth sense’ and a ‘feeling they hadn’t done enough’ pulled them back to the hole and made them dig to widen the opening.
Corban Denize, 14, sticks his head under the rock and searches for the lamb on his farmland near Waitomo, New Zealand, on August 29
The teenager emerges from the hole with the two-day-old lamb before handing the animal over to his father Brendan
Footage shows Brendan burrowing his way under the rock before, with his father pulling him by his legs, emerging holding the two-day-old lamb.
As the farmer yanks his son out, a shocked Corban gasps ‘oh it’s alive’.
He triumphantly shouts ‘I saved it’ and jokes ‘you be thankful, lamb’ as Brendan picks up the lucky livestock and says: ‘You saved it!’
The farmer then turns around to reunite the animal with its waiting mother and sibling. They believe the tiny sheep was stuck inside the hole for 12 to 18 hours.
Corban said: ‘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.’
The farmer holds onto his son’s legs as Corban burrows into the hole and tries to find the trapped animal
Corban emerges from the 7ft hole and pulls the lamb by its leg as his father watches
The farmer’s son triumphantly shouts ‘I saved it’ and jokes ‘you be thankful, lamb’ as Brendan picks up the animal
The farmer carries the lamb in his hands before reuniting the animal with its waiting mother
Proud father Brendan, who also lives with wife Trudy Denize, 47, and third child 13-year-old Harley, praised his son for his efforts and said he was ‘quite the hero’.
He said: ‘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 per cent effort.
‘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.
Corban (pictured with one of his family’s lambs) said despite the tight squeeze it was ‘a big relief’ to find that the lamb was alive
Pictured: Corban (back left) with brother Harley (back right), father Brendan (front left), sister Katie (front centre) and mother Trudy (front right)
‘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.’
Social media users applauded Corban for his brave efforts, with one saying it was a ‘great rescue’
Brendan, who runs Ripples Retreat holiday lodge on the land as well as a family farming business, later took to social media to share the footage with others alongside the caption: ‘Bloody handy having kids home. Everyday farm life near Waitomo’.
One social media user commented: ‘That’s awesome top effort.’
While another added: ‘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.’
And one person wrote: ‘Farmer of the Year in training.’