News release text
Crews have rescued a mare and her foal from the River Thames minutes before the tide was due to submerge the animals under water.
Emergency services were called to the scene, near Norfolk Road in Gravesend, shortly after 10:30am this morning (Wednesday) where the horses had become stuck in the mud with no way of freeing themselves.
Crews from Faversham and Thames-Side, alongside colleagues from the East Sussex animal rescue team, used inflatable mud paths to reach the stranded pair before helping them to safety with ropes, strops and slings. Once back on dry land both the mare and foal were given precautionary checks by a vet.
The RSPCA and RNLI were also in attendance.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager, Daren Jenner, who attended the scene, said: “We were very aware that the tide was beginning to come in and we had less then an hour after arriving to free the animals before they became submerged. It is believed that the foal is only a few days old and would have had little chance of survival had it not been for the actions of everyone involved at the scene.”
Ian Smith, helmsman for Gravesend RNLI Lifeboat Station, said: “We were the first emergency service on the scene - we received a call from people from the National Sea Training Centre who were down by the water working on their boats on the jetty when they spotted the foal in the mud and called us. We decided to launch our lifeboat and requested the fire and rescue service and veterinary assistance, and informed London Coastguard who coordinated the rescue.
“The foal was less than two days old – the mother was extremely protective and wouldn’t let anyone get near it until she was sedated. Kent Fire and Rescue Service were brilliant and did most of the work after that, so all credit to them. I speak on behalf of all at the lifeboat station when I say how proud we are to have been involved in such a smooth, multi-agency rescue.”