PHOTOS and Story by Anthony Pardines
On Saturday, the Los Angeles Fire Department’s “air support” helicopter and Heavy Rescue team, along with Hansen Dam park police and lifeguards, plus L.A. City’s Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (“SMART”), assembled near the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center to rescue a horse stuck in mud.
The incident was reported to LAFD around 5 p.m., and local fire resources were dispatched to the 11700 block of W. Foothill Blvd., just south of Osborne Street in Lake View Terrace, for an “animal assist” call, according to Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Over 2 hours later and with over 30 city personnel coordinating their rescue efforts, a special harness designed to lift large animals was safely secured around the horse, and LAFD’s “Air 2″ helicopter hoisted the animal out of the mud and into the air. Several minutes later, the horse was gently lowered onto a nearby baseball field, where other city firefighters and animal rescue officers awaited, to unhook the hoist cable and keep the horse calm until the owners arrived.
One of the owners of the horse, a man who looked to be in his 30′s or 40′s, finally arrived to the landing area after standing in water and mud for over 3 hours as he comforted the trapped horse. The man shook the hands and warmly thanked the animal rescue officers who were tending to his recovered horse. He was accompanied by a woman, who appeared to be the other owner of the horse.
The man, who declined to give his name, stated that he was riding his horse in the river bed when three of the horse’s legs got stuck in mud or sand, around 3:30 that afternoon.
“Whew!” said the owner, who expressed his relief to a few of the people gathered around him at the baseball field. “It’s scary. He (the horse) started moving around and we kept sinking!” he added.
The owner asked one of the “SMART” officers, who helped rescue his horse, about the strength of the harness used to lift the large animal. “Each harness strap is rated at 10,000 pounds, so there’s no way the harness itself would have broke.” answered the SMART officer. “And the Kevlar cable attached to it is rated at 25,000 pounds.”
Several local children, Elizabeth Perez, Angel Perez, Jaime Ybarra and Emmanuel Lozano, who had been playing on the nearby soccer fields when the incident happened, were joyous after seeing the horse rescued.
“It was awesome!” said Elizabeth Perez.
The wife of the horse owner said she was going to the grocery store after leaving the baseball field. “I’m running to Ralphs to get about 20 cans of oatmeal and a big bag of carrots. So you know what I’ll be making… some porridge, for the big guy!”
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