Video: Firefighters rescue Frankie the horse from waterway

Firefighters rescued a horse which was trapped in a four foot-deep waterway in Rishworth after he had been missing for two days.

Frankie the horse had been stuck in a culvert in Withens End Lane, Rishworth, Sowerby Bridge until it was freed on Wednesday at 2pm.

Ten firefighters from Cleckheaton Fire Station took two-and-a-half hours to rescue the animal after a vet sedated it.

It is believed missing Frankie the horse may have been stranded for over 30 hours during which time his owners had launched a desperate search for him in thick fog.

Having finally located Frankie in the culvert they tried in vain to lead the seven-year-old horse to safety, but, thwarted, they called upon West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service as a last resort.

A local vet from Hird and Partners was called in to sedate Frankie while firefighters set up a tripod to winch the stallion to safety.

Station Manager Allen said: “The culvert was about 10 foot deep and runs about three miles. The horse had been in the field next to the culvert and could not get out.

“It was a very unusual situation.

“We set up a tripod in conjunction with the local vet who did a fantastic job. He sedated the horse and we got in and put a head collar on.”

Yorkshire Water reduced the water flow through the culvert which decreased the depth from around three and a half foot of fast flowing water to eight inches in the bottom.

SM Allen said: “We lifted the horse through the tripod system and left him in the hands of the owner and vet.”

SM Allen said that with the heavy downpour overnight into today Frankie could have been in grave danger had he not been found when he was.

He said: “Overnight, if the culvert had swollen with water, it could have gone over the horse’s head.”

The rescue was complete by 4.30pm, however, for owner Claire Robinson, 39, the whole ordeal had started on Tuesday morning when she had realised Frankie was missing.

She said: “He was in the field on Monday teatime when we left and Tuesday morning my friend said she had not seen him. We searched ourselves for quite a long time. I was really worried. I thought ‘he is going to be dead’ or someone has pinched him.”

Claire and her partner Lee Gibbison, 35, searched the surrounding area until 2am in the morning on Wednesday and finally found Frankie at around 11am later the same day (Wednesday, Oct 28).

Having tried to walk Frankie out themselves they finally called on the emergency services.

Claire, who lives in Rochdale and has had Frankie for 10 weeks, added: “He is fine now. He walked down to the stables at the bottom

“The fire crews and the vet did a fantastic job. I was panicking at one point that he would not make it because he was in there so long. I reckon he was in there 36 hours plus. The weather was impossible to find him yesterday.”

Lee Gibbison, 35, added: “The fire crews did a good job. I never thought my day would end like that!”