England

Horse cliff rescue: Animal dies after Pakefield ordeal

  • 2 March 2013
  • From the section England
Horse rescue at Pakefield
Image caption Suffolk Fire service gave the horse oxygen during the rescue at Pakefield Holiday Park

A horse has died despite being rescued from a cliff face where it was found hanging by a tether around its neck.

The animal was still breathing when cut down from the cliff by an RSPCA officer about 19:30 GMT on Friday, at Pakefield, near Lowestoft, Suffolk.

In a race against the tide, the unconscious pony was rescued from the beach and taken to the Norfolk-based Redwings Horse Sanctuary for treatment.

The horse died from a collapsed windpipe on arrival at the charity.

RSPCA inspector Nicky Thorne, who responded to a call from the public, thought the horse was already dead when she found it dangling from the cliff.

But she realised it was still breathing and cut it loose with a pocket knife.

'Untold distress'

The horse was unconscious and the fire service gave oxygen during the six hour rescue.

Ms Thorne said: "By this point, I was shaking and in shock - all I could think about was the horse and I didn't want to leave him.

The fire service were absolutely excellent, I can't thank them enough."

John Tiffen, from Suffolk Fire and Recue, said: "We had to try and work out how to rescue the horse, which was difficult due to its location in an isolated spot between Lowestoft and Kessingland, further complicated with an incoming tide."

The cob died just as he was being unloaded at the Redwing sanctuary.

Vet Nic de Brauwere said: "This was a tragic and totally unnecessary loss of life.

"A matter of a few feet in where the pony was tethered would have meant the difference between life and death.

"The experience must have caused him untold distress."

Ms Thorne added: "I was so upset - I kept telling the horse he would be the most famous and looked after horse in Suffolk if he pulled through.

"To lose him after six hours of trying to save him was awful."

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