Firefighters in three-hour horse rescue effort

The horse rescue at Farm Lane in Aspull

The horse rescue at Farm Lane in Aspull

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A gruelling rescue operation saw Wigan firefighters save a horse that had become trapped in a 5ft ditch.

The mare, called Ziona, fell on a building site on Farm Lane in Aspull and became trapped in corrugated metal sheets on Wednesday.

The horse escaped with minor injuries

The horse escaped with minor injuries

A crew from Wigan and a water incident unit from Heywood were joined by a farmer and vet as they worked over three hours to free the horse, which escaped with cuts and bruises.

Group Manager Ben Levy, the officer in charge of the incident, said: “This was one of the most difficult animal rescues I have experienced.”

Straps, sliding boards and lighting equipment were used during the rescue and the vet regularly sedated Ziona to keep her as calm as possible.

Officer Levy added: “Ziona had stepped on sheets of metal, which then became wrapped around her as she fell into the hole.

This was one of the most difficult animal rescues I have experienced

Fire officer Ben Levy

“The farmer used a digger to make room for us to access the horse and after two hours we were able to free her.

“Our water incident unit are trained in dealing with incidents involving large animals, but they were ably assisted by our crew from Wigan and had help from the horse’s owner, a local farmer and a vet.

“At one point the vet was very concerned about Ziona’s wellbeing, yet she pulled through and survived, which is great news for her owner and great testament to the hard work of the fire crews and others at the incident.”