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A horse sparked a major rescue operation after it plummeted down a hole and was stuck for 24 hours.
The 14-year-old animal called Sianey fell around 10ft after treading on a manhole cover in its field off Gillroyd Lane in Linthwaite.
It was then stuck in an underground chamber on Monday night and fire crews who had assessed the situation on Monday returned yesterday with heavy rescue equipment.
The firefighters were a specialist crew from Cleckheaton, backed up by another fire engine from the same station.
They started to drill through the concrete walls to the chamber using circular saws and jackhammers as a crowd gathered to watch the drama unfold close to Colne Valley High School at around 2.30pm yesterday afternoon and throughout the evening.
The aim of the firefighters was to dig deep enough so the horse could be walked free of its prison.
Sianey is owned by Wendy Dyson, her mum Barbara Pinder and Wendy’s daughter, Amy.
Wendy said: “I can’t believe Sianey has only suffered superficial cuts and grazes. How she got down there I’ve no idea. The hole was covered up with flags and has just given way – we had no idea that was there.
Click below to see pictures from the rescue.
“It looks like Sianey has gone down backwards and tried to scramble out with her front legs. The firefighters have been fantastic – they have been digging all afternoon. She could not have been dragged out without being anaesthetised which is why we need to dig her out.”
Cleckheaton watch commander Colin Brown said the horse rescue had initially been judged too risky and a specialist vet was faced with having to put the animal down.
However, he said the owner of the land appeared in the nick of time and offered to use a JCB and dig a hole out of the hillside so his crew could get to the underground chamber where the horse was incarcerated.
Mr Brown said: "We had just started telling the horse owner the bad news and then one of the team came up with this idea and we went for it.
"The incident was reported to us at lunchtime and we had four large fire service technical rescue vehicles and 12 staff involved.
"After hours of hard work the horse finally came out at 9pm to rapturous applause from the 150-strong crowd who had gathered to watch. It had a slight limp on one of its back legs but was otherwise unharmed by its ordeal."
He said the horse had wandered onto a patch of land and had walked on top of some rickety wooden boards at the side of the field and fallen into a one metre by one metre area surrounded by concrete at least one foot thick.
Late last night Wendy added: "She's back in her stable now, she's just got cuts all over her but the vets are checking her out.
"We've cleaned her up and she's being given some antibiotics.
"She's eating and drinking and she's happy to be back. I just can't believe it, it was a freak accident."
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