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Two search planes, a helicopter, a thermal-imaging camera and dozens of searchers were all scrambled in Duluth, Minnesota to find a missing horse.

El Nino — a 10-year-old quarter horse — bolted while being led to his field on 7 February and was missing in woods near his owners Scott and Chris Frisby’s home for six days.

El Nino was spotted by the search plane on Saturday and Mr Frisby buckled on his snow shoes to wade through snow that was up to his waist in places to where the horse had been seen.

When El Nino was found, tired and hungry, he was chewing on the bark of a poplar tree.

“He’s got a few marks from being scratched by branches but he’s doing OK,” said Mrs Frisby. “You can see his ribs a little more but we’ll soon get him back on track.”

The Frisbys say they would never have found the horse without the use of the air support — which they paid for themselves, with donations from friends and colleagues.

“It’s incredible. The people at work, the emotional support and friends family and neighbours all pitched in,” said Mrs Frisby.