Firefighters rescue pony from icy Endon canal
FIREFIGHTERS were called to rescue a lost pony who fell into a canal and was left stranded in freezing water.
The pony, called Pancake, fell into Caldon Canal in Endon, and remained trapped for several hours before he was spotted.
Firefighters were called at around 7.30am yesterday and managed to haul Pancake from the icy waters – which had reached the animal's neck.
The nine-year-old white pony, belonging to Endon Riding School, had slipped after leaving his field through a broken fence.
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Debbie Machin, co-owner of the riding school, later said an insulating rug Pancake was wearing prevented him from from suffering more serious health consequences.
Debbie, aged 59, who was alerted to the incident by a member of the public, said: "My colleague and I went down straight away after we received the call.
"We had eight ponies in that field so we didn't know which one it was.
"When we got there, we saw his head and neck above the water. A lot of the canal had frozen over so there was nothing we could do to break the ice to free him.
"I was really panicking because I didn't know whether he was injured from the fall."
It took fire crews from Hanley and Newcastle, including a specialist animal resue team from Leek, 45 mins to rescue the horse from the canal.
Debbie said: "The organisation of the fire crews were brilliant.
"Pancake was quite still during the whole rescue operation so it made it easier for the crews to haul him out.
"When he came out of the canal he was a bit shaky and cold but he was fine.
"There had been a rug on his back because he and the other ponies sleep outside in the field so that had insulated him whilst he was in the water.
"He was soon in his warm stable. We are keeping all the ponies out of the field whilst we secure the fences to avoid anything like this happening again."
Ben Griffiths was in charge of the incident for Staffordshire Fire and Recue Service. He said: "We received a call at 7.30am about a pony who had fallen into the canal. It had been stuck there for a few hours.
"Crews from Hanley, Newcastle and a specialist animal rescue crew from Leek attended the scene.
"The fire services have invested money in animal rescue equipment for these sort of incidents.
"It took us 45 minutes to rescue the pony from the waters.
"It was quite a difficult rescue operation because of the small area we had to work in and use the equipment.
"We eventually managed to haul the pony out on to the side of the embankment.
"It was a nice successful operation and the horse did not seem to be in distress."