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Friday, July 22, 2011

Muddy hell! Horse stuck up to its nose in muddy swamp is rescued by firefighters

By Daily Mail Reporter

Slough of despond: Rescue technician James Halton keeps Elvis the Welsh cob calm while attaching ropes to him

Firefighters had to use all their ingenuity to rescue a horse after it became almost fully submerged in a muddy swamp.

Elvis, a 14-hand stallion, was stuck up to his neck in mud when owner Margaret Hill found him.

The 59-year-old grandmother said she feared the worst when she first saw her three-year-old Welsh cob trapped in boggy ground within nearby scrubland.

'I went to check on the horses like I do, as I went up the field, he wasn’t there,' she said.

'He’s normally the first one to come out to me. I searched the field and I couldn’t find him - I thought he had been stolen.

'Then I noticed one of the horses whinnying. If it wasn’t for that, I’m sure we wouldn’t have found him.'

'The whinnying pointed us in the right direction.'

The mother-of-four from Hawkes End, Coventry, said she had no idea how the horse managed to escape from his field, but assumed he had pushed his way through the trees bordering his paddock.

'The lad who was with me saw him first; he literally dropped to his knees,' she added.

'When I saw him I wanted to cry, His nose just kept going under.

'He called out to us. He was so calm though, he was brilliant. I knew they would rescue him, they were very good. He was so strong.

'I phoned my friend immediately, who called 999.'

Heavy work: Rescuers spent nearly three hours using straps and ropes to carefully free the 14-hand horse

A specialist technical rescue team from the West Midlands Fire Service raced to help the distressed horse alongside crews from Coventry fire station, who formed a ten-strong team who slowly pulled the horse to safety.

One technician, James Halton, donned a dry suit and jumped into the 20-metre square mud pit.

With help from the rest of the team, he managed to shovel away enough mud from around the horse to fit strops in place underneath his stomach and around his front legs.

Watch Manger Pete Drummond who was first to arrive at the scene said, 'I left the vehicle and ran the quarter of a mile distance through woodland tracks to get to the horse, as we heard from the owner that it was now almost fully submerged.

'With the assistance of my crew, three potential rescue plans were put in place. The horse was clearly in distress and it was crucial that we acted quickly to get him out alive.'

Extra effort: At this point the rescue team have been on site for an hour. It is another two hours before they are able to free the horse

Margaret said the rescue, which took crews just over two hours, was a tremendous achievement.

She said: 'I cannot praise the crews enough for what they did. I didn’t think there was any chance they’d manage to pull him out alive but they did.

'They were absolutely brilliant, true gentlemen and I am extremely grateful to them.'

She said Elvis was doing welll despite his ordeal.

'The vet came out, his heart is racing slightly and he’s given him antibiotics as a precaution. He has a bit of conjunctivitis, we will monitor him for the next three days, he is eating,' added Margaret.

Inch by inch: More mud is shovelled out and extra straps put around Elvis

'We had to wash him down completely; his coat is so shiny now because he’s had a mud bath.

'Elvis is so laid back. He’s a real cheeky chappy and he loves everyone especially if you’ve got a carrot. If it had happened to the others I don’t think they would have survived.

'He’s a star, we were all in shock, and we just can’t believe it.'

Vij Randeniya, Chief Fire Officer said, 'I always say that my firefighters are among the very best in the world and once again they have proved themselves.

'People think we just put out fires and respond to road accidents, but this incident has helped to show that we do much more.'



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