Public reminded to shut gates after horse falls through footbridge

Firefighters have issued a reminder to the public to close gates behind them after a horse fell through a footpath bridge.

Buster, 28, became trapped when one of his hind legs went through the wooden bridge in Eton Wick on Tuesday (8 January).

It took crews nearly four hours to free the 16.2hh gelding and lift him to safety.

A spokesman for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) told H&H the bridge is roped off to prevent horses from attempting to cross, but it is likely someone forgot to put the rope back across.

He added this is a timely reminder for the public to remember to shut gates behind them when in the countryside.

A crew from Windsor, the animal rescue unit from Caversham Road and RBFRS’s heavy rescue unit were sent to help after the call came in at 9.39am.

Firefighters assessed the situation and Buster was sedated by a vet while the crews worked to freed him.

Group manager Neil Carter thanked all those involved for “working so hard”.

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“They made sure that the animal was freed safely and returned to his owner, who was very helpful throughout,” said Mr Carter.

“This ensured a calm environment for our crews to work in was maintained throughout the rescue.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to remind our residents to make sure that gates are kept closed so that animals, like this one, do not escape and injure themselves.

“If you’re leaving a field, always make sure that the gate is securely shut behind you.”

A statement from RBFRS added the animal rescue unit is made up of a team who are trained in specialist rescue techniques and have experience in dealing with animals.

“Although the team try not to use mechanical lifting where possible, this is sometimes necessary in the rescue of larger animals, with the support of the heavy rescue unit,” added the statement.

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