Details have emerged of how firefighters in Paignton managed to rescue a cow after he had fallen into a swimming pool in Marldon.
Crews were called from Paignton and Torquay fire station at around 23:00 hours on Thursday evening (31st March) after residents spotted the 600kg animal in the water.
The cow had escaped from a nearby field and found its way into a garden before falling into the cold water.
An officer in charge of the scene initially decided to pump some of the water out so that the cow could stand up and support itself.
Firefighters at the scene reported that once the pump had started, the cow swam over to it to investigate the strange noise.
A specialist animal rescue team from Exmouth Fire Station arrived on the scene with some animal rescue equipment.
Large animal rescues pose a serious risk to the safety of rescuers, so a plan was hatched to remove the cow from the pool with minimal risk to the safety of firefighters.
Webbing strops were fed underneath the cow after he was coerced into the corner of the pool. Firefighters then used a telehandler to lift the cow out, as a local farmer positioned a cattle trailer nearby.
The cow was lifted out of the pool and placed into the trailer before being checked over by a vet.
A spokesperson for Paignton Fire Station said:
‘The operation went very smoothly. The cow was lifted, moved to the trailer, and was then held in the harness for a few minutes until he could support himself again.
‘By this time, he had been in the pool for 3-4 hours and was very cold, with numb legs.
‘The harness we use provides the ability for the cow to stand just weight-bearing, but still supported by the telehandler, where we can then pull a toggle mechanism from outside the penned off area by the trailer, which means the harness just fails to the ground and the cow walks away.
‘No need to risk the safety of our personnel to get close to remove the harness physically.
‘An excellent outcome for one very cold young bullock.
‘He did spend quite some time with his nose just below the surface blowing bubbles, which he seemed to enjoy!
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