Campbell River firefighters are still talking about a successful and most unusual rescue.
They spent four hours yesterday pulling a 1300 pound horse out of a bog.
It had been buried up to its neck in mud and would have died within an hour if not for the combined effort of several agencies.
“Been on for 27 years…this is the first,” says Cpt. Ken Dawson of the Campbell River Fire Department.
Dawson is talking about the rescue of a 1300 pound horse in a bog near McIvor Lake on Wednesday.
“Three of them were riding that day,” says Dawson. “And they hit some low branch on a tree or a limb and there’s a wasp nest in it. They were getting stung the horse as they ran down the trail. The one girl jumped off and the horse was still spooked and pulled her off the road into this mud bog.”
The original call said the rider had been trampled, turned out she was ok, but a major operation ensued to free the horse.
The place where it happened was a bog and it was difficult for emergency crews to get to.
It was about two kilometers down a long, leafy trail so they all had to go in on quads.
The operation took four hours to finish.
“The horse was basically buried to its back in the mud so he was trying to move on his own but he really just couldn’t get any traction, couldn’t get any, he was stuck,” says Firefighter Lee Pendergast.
“Then all of a sudden it would make an attempt to get out of the mud but then would slip back in a couple of times and be in further than when it started in the first place.”
A veterinarian was called to the scene to keep an eye on the horses health, while members of the Campbell River Ground Search and Rescue team, the fire department, the RCMP and BC Ambulance worked to free the horse.
“It was a hard time getting the strapping underneath the horse, we had guys digging and reaching underneath. It was a long process but finally got the horse turned and finally up on the trail and it was a long process.”
It took about 15 people pulling on a series of ropes and pulleys to finally free the horse. The horse’s name is Riley. The owners are from Nanaimo.
“You know it was kind of a neat situation. We hadn’t done anything like that. Obviously the owner, she was ecstatic that we got her horse out. you know, I don’t think the horse had much longer, you know I don’t think he would have survived.”