Video: Volunteer SAR Team Rescues Horse from Coastal Mudflat
The volunteer SAR crews of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution normally rescue boaters, fishermen and vessels in distress along the coast of Britain, but UK authorities occasionally called upon their skills in novel rescue situations as well.
At 1030 hours on Saturday morning, the Hoylake RNLI station received an unusual request from the UK Coastguard: Two horses with young riders had become trapped in the mud off Leasowe, a small community near Liverpool, and the horses needed assistance. The riders had already been pulled to safety, along with one of the horses, but the second animal was stuck up to its torso in thick mud.
The Hoylake RNLI hovercraft crew worked with UK Coastguard members and local Fire Service officers to dig out the horse's legs. The RNLI crew and Coastguard also used their mud lances in an attempt to soften the sand with water and compressed air, but the mud was too thick for this technique. After some further digging, and with gentle encouragement from the emergency services, the horse managed to free itself, but it became stuck again.
The RNLI volunteers and the Fire Service deployed mud boards and mats to provide the horse with firmer footing. The horse was freed again and managed to climb onto the boards with some assistance. A veterinarian administered a sedative to reduce distress to the animal and to help the emergency services to move it to shore safely. The team guided the horse along the mud boards to firmer ground.
With both horses and their riders safely ashore, the RNLI volunteer crew recovered the hovercraft's equipment and returned to Hoylake Lifeboat Station. "Considering the ordeal the horse had been through, its behaviour was exceptional in what was clearly a distressing situation," said RNLI hovercraft volunteer Ian Farrall. "The emergency service teams worked really well together, pooling their resources and experience to ensure a good outcome."