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A Watch Commendation has been presented to firefighters who were members of a rescue team that helped save a horse that had fallen into a canal.
The five-year-old mare fell into a canal near Wargrave Road, Newton-le-Willows. Firefighters from Newton-le-Willows Community Fire Station and St Helens Community Fire Station along with the Search and Rescue Team were sent to the scene on November 30, 2014.
The horse was stuck in 4.5 foot of water before firefighters led it around 30 metres towards the canal bank.
Watch Commendations have been awarded to firefighters at Newton-le-Willows Community Fire Station and St Helens Community Fire Station along with the Search and Rescue Team.
Watch Manager Neil Henry, who is based at Newton-le-Willows Community Fire Station, said:
“Once in attendance I located the horse, which
was approximately 500 metres along the canal bank from our access point. The rider of the horse had dismounted prior to the five-year-old mare stumbling into the canal.
“A member of the public out walking quickly reacted to the
incident prior to our arrival and took hold of the horse’s bridle
in an initial attempt to stop the horse wading deeper out
into the canal.
“The horse was strong and healthy and a considerable
size and it was apparent, when we arrived and
assessed the situation, that she did not want to be
coaxed along the canal bank to a shallower area in an attempt to be led out. I
decided to utilise Rope Access Gear (RAG) equipment and set up a hauling system to encourage Maddison to move along the canal bank which worked very well. My team were able to coax the horse to the lower bank side where she had stumbled into the canal.
“Once at the lower position we re-rigged our equipment and attempted to help the horse from the canal under her own strength. However, even though the canal bankside was very near to the water level, underneath the water the canal bank stepped down approximately two feet and the weight of the horse meant that she had sunk into the mud. She could not get out herself.”
The Search and Rescue Team (SRT), who carry more specialised equipment, had also been requested. Once at the incident, the decision was made to perform a controlled lift using specialist lifting equipment.
Watch Manager Henry added: “Two firefighters from Newton- le-Willows and two firefighters from the SRT were deployed into the canal in water rescue kit to assist in placing lifting bridles around the horse. The lift was then completed and she was checked over by the attending vet.”
Watch Manager
Steve Thomas,
based at Croxteth
Community Fire
Station, said: “Two
members of the
Search and Rescue
Team in water
rescue kit entered
the canal to fit a
lifting bridle to the
horse. The horse
was then safely lifted from the water onto the canal bank by the Search and Rescue Team using a specialist lifting frame.
“There was no other way the horse could have got out of the canal. The horse was checked by a vet at the scene and did not have any injuries.”
The call-out was at 1.33pm on November 30.
Firefighters worked with a farmer and the Search and Rescue Team to rescue a horse which had become trapped in a ditch which was around 3-feet deep.
The 20-year-old mare was unable to free herself from the ditch in a field off Saughall Massie Road in Wirral.
Firefighters from Upton Community Fire Station were called out at 10.28am on Saturday, May 16, and a fire appliance and the Search and Rescue Team was also sent to the scene.
Station Manager Mark Thomas said: “Firefighters from Upton Community Fire Station initially assisted in calming the horse to help prevent the horse from injuring itself and, once a farmer and vet were in attendance, they formulated a plan to release the horse safely.
“The Search and Rescue Team were able to place strops around the horse to aid a farmer’s tractor, which had an extendable arm on, to safely lift the horse from the ditch onto stable ground.
“The crews worked together very well with the vet and farmer to formulate and execute a successful plan to release the horse in good time.”
Firefighters were on scene for around one hour.
Firefighters from St Helens Community Fire Station and Newton-le-Willows Community Fire Station receive the Watch Commendation from
Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens at
St Helens Community Fire Station.
Photo: Lyndsay Young.
Left to right is Area Manager Dave Mottram, Firefighter Steve Ainsworth and Watch Manager Steve Thomas at Croxteth Community Fire Station, accepting the Watch Commendations on behalf of those on duty for the horse rescue.
Photo: Karl Mansfield.
Photo of the rescue on November 30, 2014. Photo taken by Watch Manager Darren Evans.

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