Panic rescue of horse that fell six feet into underground vault

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The City of Riverside Fire Department responded to a report of a rider fallen from a horse on Sunday at the 5600 block of Arlington Avenue. The saddled horse fell about six feet into an underground vault. According to the organization’s Facebook page, when the first fire unit arrived on scene, they requested further assistance from the City of Riverside’s Heavy Animal Rescue Team (HART), which includes experienced personnel from the Riverside Police Department’s mounted unit.

Rescuers placed thick straps around the horse, and and as they waited for a crane to lift him out, the horse panicked and tried kicking his way out of the vault. Once sedated by a veterinarian, rescuers were carefully able to help him up to safety as firefighters and the horse’s owner encouraged him to climb out of the hole. The horse’s successful rescue efforts were described:

“A crane was requested to assist rescue personnel with extricating the horse once it was sedated by the Veterinarian. While firefighters were preparing the horse for extrication from the vault, the animal made several unsuccessful attempts to get out of the hole. Finally, the horse was able to climb out of the hole with assistance from firefighters and the animals owner.”

The horse’s injuries were assessed by the vet before it was released to its owner. The owner brought in a horse trailer to transport the animal to a personal veterinarian for further evaluation. This was one lucky horse – he only suffered lacerations on his legs that are expected to heal. The vault where he fell in had been covered by a metal grate and it appears it collapsed under the weight of the horse that was being walked on the sidewalk with another horse.

A temporary cover has since been placed over the open vault.

Pictures courtesy of City of Riverside Fire Department retired Captain Bob Markin. Video courtesy of Brandy Carlos


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