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Crews carry out challenging animal rescue during cold spell

During the recent cold spell, firefighters worked to rescue a cow that had become trapped in the Kennet and Avon Canal near Thatcham.

At 2.55pm on Sunday, 3 February, one crew from Newbury, an Officer and the Water and Animal Rescue Unit were sent to the scene.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the cow trapped in a reed bed, in about two feet of water. She was heavily pregnant and in a great deal of distress as she had her front legs stuck in the reed bed.

The crew entered the water and dug the cow out of the reed bed by hand. Suffering from exhaustion, the cow could not stand up so the crew had to work hard to keep her head above water.

As the temperature was still low, the water in the canal was freezing but flowing, meaning that firefighters could not spend too long in the water. It was also starting to get dark, so crews decided that the best option was to use force to try and pull the cow from the water.

After just over an hour, firefighters were successful in bringing the cow safely onto land. She was clearly drained but no doubt delighted to be out of the water and back with her owner.   

Alan Battman, Station Manager said: “Our highly trained well equipped crew responded well in challenging conditions. 

“The Service attended this incident to primarily ensure public safety and provide aid to an animal in distress. We are committed to the wellbeing of our communities and we worked with the farmer to protect one of their valuable assets.”