April 19, 2009

7 cows rescued from muddy English river

Rescuing seven cows from a muddy English estuary turned out to be a complicated operation involving 20 firefighters and two hovercraft, officials said.

By the time the firefighters arrived Friday afternoon, some of the cows were buried up to their necks in mud, the BBC reported. Investigators said they believe the animals stampeded into the River Parrett in Somerset, possibly frightened by gunfire.

More than 20 firefighters were called to the scene. They used ropes and tractors to drag the animals to dry ground.

A Burnham Area Rescue Boat spokesman said the hovercraft -- Spirit of Lelaina and Light of Elizabeth -- provided safety for the firefighters and helped herd the cows out of the river.

The cattle were returned to their very grateful owner, the spokesman said. Throughout the rescue the RSPCA were in attendance, and, as far as we know, the cattle were none the worse for their ordeal. We used ropes, mud mats, tractors and other equipment to help free the trapped animals.