Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Saturday, 18 April 2009 15:54 UK

Cattle rescued from estuary mud


Cattle rescued from river estuary

Seven cows were dragged to safety after they became trapped in an estuary in Somerset.

More than 20 firefighters helped free the cattle, some of which had sunk up to their necks, in the River Parett at West Huntspill, on Friday afternoon.

Two hovercraft were also called to the scene as rescue teams used ropes and to heave the animals clear.

The cattle are believed to have stampeded into the river after being frightened, possibly by gunshot.

A Burnham Area Rescue Boat spokesman said good team work with firefighters ensured a successful outcome to the four-hour operation.

He said: "The cattle were returned to the their very grateful owner. Throughout the rescue the RSPCA were in attendance, and, as far as we know, the cattle were none the worse for their ordeal.

"We used ropes, mud mats, tractors and other equipment to help free the trapped animals.

"Both The Spirit Of Lelaina and the Light Of Elizabeth hovercrafts were used to provide safety cover for the rescuers and reach out to several of the stranded animals."

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