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Firefighters rescue horse trapped on footbridge

A horse that had trapped its leg in a footbridge has been rescued by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) crews.

At 9.39am on Tuesday, 8 January, Thames Valley Fire Control Service received reports of a horse in need of rescue on Common Road, Eton Wick, Windsor.

A crew from Windsor, the Animal Rescue Unit from Caversham Road and the Heavy Rescue Unit were sent to the scene to help.

When crews arrived, they found Buster, a 28 year old male horse of 16.2 hands, with one of its rear legs stuck in a wooden footbridge.

After an initial inspection to assess the situation and work out a plan of action, the horse was sedated with the assistance of a vet, and the scene made safe. Within three hours and 45 minutes of their arrival, Buster was released from the footbridge by firefighters, who also alerted local authorities to damage to the bridge as it was part of a public footpath.

Neil Carter, Group Manager, said “I’d like to thank all the firefighters involved in the incident and give them my praise for working so hard. They made sure that the animal was freed safely and returned to his owner, who was very helpful throughout. This ensured a calm environment for our crews to work in was maintained throughout the rescue.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to remind our residents to make sure that gates are kept closed so that animals, like this one, do not escape and injure themselves. If you’re leaving a field, always make sure that the gate is securely shut behind you.”

The Animal Rescue Unit is comprised of a team of firefighters who are trained in specialist animal rescue techniques, and experience in dealing with animal behaviour. Although the team try not to use mechanical lifting where possible, this is sometimes necessary in the rescue of larger animals, with the support of the Heavy Rescue Unit.