‘Freak accident’ prompts unusual cow rescue at farm in Steyning

Technical rescue unit officers rescuing Elaine the cow
Technical rescue unit officers rescuing Elaine the cow

Rescue officers, farmers and a vet worked together to rescue a cow after a ‘freak accident’ at a farm in Steyning yesterday (Tuesday April 19).

The cow, named Elaine, managed to get stuck on the farm’s milking parlour inside a large barn.

She stepped through a safety barrier and slipped down to an area three feet below - managing to avoid injury.

But she was rescued by the team from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Technical Rescue Unit, who built a makeshift ramp and pulled Elaine back up on a harness.

Rob Baker-Johnson of the TRU said: “It was a complete freak accident, they had never seen a cow do it before.

“She wasn’t injured, she is a big cow, but she was a little bit distressed.

“It was a good team effort by the vet, the farm owner and our unit.”

The team - all experienced animal handlers - had to think on their feet when they witnessed the unusual sight on arrival at the farm just after 2pm.

They removed the cattle from the milking parlour and created a wooden ramp, adding a plastic sheet to make it smooth and lubricating it with washing up liquid.

Elaine was sedated by a vet, and after the harness was placed around her, she was slowly eased up the ramp using a small tractor.

Rob said the sedative wore off seconds after the task was complete, with Elaine immediately walking off and rejoining the herd for a ‘happy ending’.

He said: “We don’t get called to cattle. Even the vet said it was probably the first time she has been called to cattle, especially inside a building like that.

“It was quite challenging using small equipment - we could only use what we could get into the barn.

“The farm owner was quite concerned but I think he realised the experience of our team when it came to large animal rescue.

“We were extremely careful, and everything went exactly according to plan.”

The crew left the barn at about 5.30pm.

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