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A horse who became trapped in a deep hole with sheets of metal “wrapped around her” has had a lucky escape.

Firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue were called to reports of a trapped horse on a building site in Aspull, near Wigan, on 20 April.

A crew from Wigan and the water incident unit from Heywood were joined by a farmer and a vet to try and free the grey mare from the steep-sided hole.

Aspull horse rescue ziona2The mare, named Ziona, had become trapped in corrugated metal sheets when she fell in.

“This was one of the most difficult animal rescues I have experienced,” said Ben Levy, the officer in charge of the rescue.

“Ziona had stepped on sheets of metal, which then became wrapped around her as she fell into the hole.

“The farmer used a digger to make room for us to access the horse and after two hours we were able to free her.”

Rescuers used straps, sliding boards and lighting equipment, while the vet kept Ziona sedated to ensure she was as calm as possible.

Mr Levy later tweeted that the crews “had to do everything we could think of” to extract the horse, who escaped with cuts and bruises.

Pictures shared by the fire service show the grey on her feet at the end of the marathon rescue effort.


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“Our water incident unit are trained in dealing with incidents involving large animals, but they were ably assisted by our crew from Wigan and had help from the horse’s owner, a local farmer and a vet,” Mr Levy added.

“At one point the vet was very concerned about Ziona’s wellbeing, yet she pulled through and survived, which is great news for her owner and great testament to the hard work of the fire crews and others at the incident.”