Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river

Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river
Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river

KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features


A horse has been dramatically rescued by a helicopter and 40 firefighters after becoming stuck in the mud in California.

The 2,200lb draft horse, called Duke, ran into trouble after getting stuck in thick mud at the Hansen Dam Aquatic Centre in Lake View Terrace, California.

Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river
Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river

KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features


His owner had been riding Duke on a riverbed that had become muddy from recent rains when the unfortunate animal became stuck.

He was left lying on his side in shallow water with three of his legs trapped in the sticky stuff.

Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river
Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river

KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features


Firefighters and volunteers worked to keep Duke's head above water for several hours as they set about initiating a rescue plan.

A specialised team, including a vet, used manpower and rope systems to free Duke and then floated him carefully 20ft to the shore.

Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river
Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river

KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features


In a co-ordinated effort, a harness was then placed around the weakened horse, and a helicopter airlifted him to dry land in a nearby baseball field.

Here, Duke was able to get back on his feet and, after being checked over, was found to have only suffered minor injuries.

Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river
Dramatic helicopter rescue as horse becomes stuck in muddy river

KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features

The news follows a similar incident that occurred back in February, when a woman's horse ride along a beach in Australia turned to panic after the pair suddenly plunged into an area of sinking mud - and had to race against the tide to break free.

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