A farmer died after being buried inside a tunnel while trying to rescue his dog, an inquest has heard.

Gary Davies, 36, had asked to be photographed inside the 6ft hole just moments before the freshly-dug earth around him collapsed, the inquest heard.

On Tuesday, a coroner’s court heard Mr Davies had been walking his small terrier in fields in mid Wales around midday on January 13 this year. He was with his cousin and a group of friends.

The dog ran down a bank and into a small hole dug by an animal, according to Wales Online.

Cousin Claire Burns said in a statement that Mr Davies’ dog appeared to be stuck “deep underground”, so the group called for help from local farmer Raymond Rees, who brought his JCB to the scene.

Mr Rees used the vehicle to enlarge the tunnel into a “big hole” to make it easier to reach the animal.

Ms Burns said: “Gary then jumped in to get the dog out. He was trying to reach down the tunnel for the dog and, as he did, this tunnel collapsed.”

She said Mr Davies had asked her to take a photo of him standing in the hole moments before he lay face down in it to try and reach for his dog.

A country lane
Mr Davies had been walking his small terrier in fields with his cousin and a group of friends (file photo)

She said the earth then collapsed on his head before the hole closed on top of him, leaving him stuck beneath the soil for around 20 minutes.

Farmer Mr Rees described the consistency of the soil at the spot in Rhayader as “sandy and easily dug out”, and said about “thee or four wheelbarrows-full” collapsed onto Mr Davies.

“I don’t think he saw it drop on top of him,” Mr Rees said.

The group alerted emergency services and eventually managed to dig out an unconscious Mr Davies, who was given CPR by his friends before being airlifted by an ambulance crew to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Sergeant Vicky Lloyd, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said she and colleagues along with ambulance and fire crews attended the scene where they found a “large hole in ground around 6ft deep" that was "partially filled”.

She said while waiting for Mr Davies to be airlifted to hospital his small terrier appeared from the hole, and that the animal “appeared to have blood on its nose but no other injuries”.

Dr Ravi Hebballi, an intensive care unit consultant, said Mr Davies suffered a collapse of his right lung as well as a “severe” hypoxic brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen.

With no neurological improvement over his three days in hospital, Mr Davies’ family agreed to withdraw treatment “due to futility”, and were at his bedside when he died on January 16.

His wife, Emma Davies, told the court in Pontypridd that she had married Mr Davies in 2011, and they lived with their three children in Temple Bar, St Harmon, Rhayader.

She described her husband as a “quiet and shy man” who worked with his father and brother on their farm, where they kept cattle and sheep.

She said he is “missed by all”.

Assistant coroner Rachel Knight recorded Mr Davies’ death as accident/misadventure.