Dog pulled alive from 16-foot hole

Gulfport fire fighters search for Pepper in a drainage pipe. (photos courtesy Pat Sullivan)
Gulfport fire fighters search for Pepper in a drainage pipe. (photos courtesy Pat Sullivan)
Fire fighter Russell Rummage works to save dog trapped in drain pipe.
Fire fighter Russell Rummage works to save dog trapped in drain pipe.
Pepper is pulled from underground pipe.
Pepper is pulled from underground pipe.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A dog that had been missing for several days was found Friday 16 feet underground. Gulfport fire fighters rescued Pepper, who was stuck in a drainage pipe near Three Rivers Road and Cross Roads Parkway.

A crew working on a gas line nearby first heard the pit bull Friday morning. But because she was stuck so deep underground, her bark was muffled, making it difficult for the workers to locate her. The rescue mission became even more urgent when one of the workers discovered the hole, and noticed Pepper's head was just inches above water that was rushing along the bottom of the pipe.

Fire fighters assisted Gulfport Animal Control and used a dog catch to loop around Pepper's head and pull her to safety. The rescue effort lasted about 40 minutes.

"We have no way of knowing how long she was in there," Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said. "It's amazing that the dog actually stopped where she did, because when we got there, the water was rushing by just a few inches from her face."

Pepper's owner had been looking for her for several days, and was relieved when the two were finally reunited.