Water buffalo attack: Gwent Police officers hailed for bravery

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PC Mark Burbidge (right) and PC Owain SmallwoodImage source, Gwent Police
Image caption,
PC Mark Burbidge (right) and PC Owain Smallwood helped fend off an attacking water buffalo, allowing two women to escape

A police officer has described how he fought off a water buffalo that was attacking two women.

PC Mark Burbidge and PC Owain Smallwood have been credited in saving the lives of two women in the May 2020 attack.

The attack, at a farm near Usk, Monmouthshire, saw a father and son mauled to death by the buffalo.

The officers were honoured at the Police Federation Bravery awards for their actions.

As the two officers arrived at the field, the water buffalo was charging at the mother and daughter.

"I walked towards the women who stood in front of the buffalo and shouted at them to get out, as I did that the buffalo has then attacked the younger two women," said PC Burbidge.

However, as he approached, the buffalo charged the daughter, picking her up in its horns "like a rag doll" and throwing her to the ground, burying its horns into her.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mediterranean buffalo are prized for their milk and meat

"At that point I could see the water buffalo was baring down on the young woman, using its horns to push her into the ground further.

"I picked up the pipe and ran towards the buffalo, I stood slightly to the side of it and hit the pipe in front of the buffalo between the woman the buffalo to try and distract it.

"I could see it turn its head towards me, and at that point yeah I was quite scared, I didn't think I'd be able to outturn it, or outrun it if it chose to attack me."

As PC Burbidge distracted the buffalo, the older woman managed to escape but the younger woman could barely stand due to her injuries.

"I then use the pole again the beat down in front of the buffalo to try and distract it, I've then had to hit it on its head a few times, and she started to move then, hobbling towards a tree in the top of the field.

"At that point PC Smallwood got to the field and came in, we managed to get the young woman out."

Image caption,
The attack happened at the Jump family's rural farm near Usk in Monmouthshire

After the two women were saved the buffalo moved to the other side of the field and started to attack the two men, initially mauling the younger of the two.

"After a short time the buffalo went to the older of the two men and started to maul him as well, but lost interest quite quickly, I think at that point the two men had deceased, and then firearms attended the scene," added PC Burbidge.

Ralph Jump, 57, and his son Peter, 19, both died from their injuries.

Peter had tried to save his father by fending off the buffalo with an iron bar, he was airlifted to hospital but was later declared dead.

The water buffalo killed by firearms officers following the incident.

Steve Thorpe, chair of Gwent Police Federation, said: "I commend these officers for their bravery at an incident they had never trained for and where the equipment initially available to them was ineffective.

"Despite this, all involved risked their own lives, facing a clearly dangerous and unpredictable animal, in an attempt to save the lives of those injured and protect others."