Rescue volunteers searched a mineshaft in the Yorkshire Dales for two newborn lambs believed to be trapped inside.
A team from the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) were asked to offer their help by North Yorkshire Police after reports that the lambs were trapped near Gordale House, Malham.
The volunteers made their way to the mine shaft near Great Knott - one of Gordale Scar's two summits - shortly after 11am yesterday.
A spokesman said: "CRO caving members were unable to descend very far into the awkward and narrowing natural rift in the limestone bedrock and were unable to see or hear anything."
The team clocked up around 17 hours of search time between them while checking the area, but eventually came to the sad realisation that the lambs had most likely died.
The spokesman said: "The lambs’ owners and CRO members concluded that the ewe had given birth on a grassy ledge above the fissure and that any newborn lamb had either fallen straight down it and died or had been taken, on the surface, by a predator."