Update: Horse dies after four hour long rescue operation on cliff top

Experts try to rescue the horse at Pakefield

Experts try to rescue the horse at Pakefield - Credit: Archant

A HORSE has died after being found dangling over the side of Pakefield cliffs in a rescue operation lasting almost four hours.

Experts try to rescue the horse at Pakefield

Experts try to rescue the horse at Pakefield - Credit: Archant

The “amazing team effort” to rescue the pony, which had been found dangling by a tether, ended in tragedy as the young gypsy cob died as he arrived at the Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk.

Today the RSPCA has issued a warning against the dangers of tethering horses after one of the charity’s inspectors discovered the pony.

RSPCA Inspector Nicky Thorne was called to the incident at Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park.

She walked along the beach with her torch and discovered the horse on the side of the cliff.

She climbed up the cliff, thinking he was already dead, but on reaching him she discovered he was still breathing and cut him loose from his tether.

She sat with the unconscious horse and when the fire crew arrived they gave him oxygen and took turns holding his head and keeping him warm.

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A crew from Lowestoft South fire station were called out along with the station’s rescue vehicle and Unimog (four-wheel drive rescue vehicle) at 7.10pm. The Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard rescue teams, RSPCA and vet Nic de Brauwere from Redwings Horse Sanctuary were also all involved last night.

The charity inspector said: “By this point, I was shaking and in shock – all I could think about was the horse and I didn’t want to leave him.

“The fire service were absolutely excellent and really cared, I can’t thank them enough.

“Nic was fantastic and spent the hour-long journey to Redwings in the horse box with the horse, administering all the emergency care he could and ringing round for advice on the specific injuries. Another Redwings vet also came out to help despite it being almost midnight.”

The horse had to be sedated at the scene by the vet to make the rescue easier, and firefighters were then able to take the horse on the rescue vehicle across the beach to a waiting horsebox.

When the horse arrived at Redwings in Norfolk, he died as he was being unloaded from the horsebox due to a collapsed windpipe.

The rescue of the horse was described by the The Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue teams as taking place “from one of the most inaccessible points in our patch” at the base of the cliffs at Pakefield.

A spokesman for the Coastguard teams said: “Although animal rescue is the responsibility of the fire service, with the rapidly rising tide, our local knowledge and our water rescue and off-road capabilities, we played a vital role in assisting the fire service logistically while at the same time keeping everyone involved safe.”

With the tide rising fast, coastguard team members stood by in full water rescue equipment until all vehicles and personnel were clear of the beach.

Nicky added: “I was so upset, I kept telling the horse he would be the most famous and looked after horse in Suffolk if he pulled through and then to lose him after six hours of trying to save him was awful.

“I am so grateful to the fire service, to the coastguard and to Redwings – everyone went above and beyond to try to save this horse’s life.

“The RSPCA is against tethering and this shows just how dangerous it is.”

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