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Dramatic video footage has emerged of a horse being airlifted more than 3 miles to safety after falling down a cliff in California on Friday (14 March).

The horse, called Dakota, had to be pulled out of the remote canyon in the Angeles National Forest after the path he was being ridden along collapsed and he slipped more 30 meters.

His rider also fell part of the way down the cliff, but is believed to have only suffered minor leg injuries.

A vet was flown in to help with the operation and sedated the horse before he was strapped into a harness. The Los Angeles Fire Department hoisted the 16-year-old horse more than 40 metres in the air and flew him for 3 miles to safety.

Dakota is thought to have suffered a fractured skull in the incident, but vets hope he will make a full recovery.

Video posted on YouTube by TIGRI