Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Stricken swan rescued from Woodhouse Mill sewage plant

Swan rescue Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The swan landed in an empty tank at Woodhouse Mill in South Yorkshire

A swan covered in sewage has been rescued from an empty sewage treatment tank it may have mistaken for a lake.

The male mute swan was found at the Woodhouse Mill sewage works, near Sheffield, on Wednesday morning.

South Yorkshire fire service and RSPCA officers were involved in the smelly rescue that took about two hours.

The RSPCA tweeted it had been a "long, dirty job" and it was "not easy to catch a swan". The bird is said to be unhurt and recovering from its ordeal.

It was taken to RSPCA Stapeley Grange in Nantwich, Cheshire, to be observed for the next few days.

RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield helped rescue the bird from the 15ft (4.6m) deep concrete tank.

"Swans need a fair run-up to fly and tend to take off quite low to the ground, so there was no way this chap would have been able to get himself out.

"Though the tank was drained, there was still a thick layer of sewage on the ground there, which was slippery for the swan as well as us, so we had to be very careful making our way towards him and trying to contain him," she said.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The swan will be under close observation for the next few days

Deborah Banks, of Stapeley Grange, said they were unsure how long the swan had been in the tank but it may have ingested some sewage.

The bird was washed with detergent and hot water and its feathers were massaged "quite deeply".

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"The swan was rinsed and the staff were looking for the beading effect that proves the waterproof effect has come back," she said.

"It's definitely getting the VIP treatment," added Ms Banks.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The rescued animal did not seem to be injured, according to the RSPCA
Image copyright SYFRS
Image caption It was rescued after a joint operation by firefighters and RSPCA officers

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