Two horses were saved following a dramatic hour-long rescue involving dozens of firefighters, after the animals fell through ice 50 metres from the bank of a frozen lake.
A dog walker spotted the two young horses trapped neck deep in icy water after they walked across a frozen lake near the Summer Leys Nature Reserve, off Hardwater Road, between Wollaston and Great Doddington.
Five fire engines and more than 20 firefighters, including specialist water and animal rescue teams, were called to the scene at around 4pm yesterday.
They spent more than an hour in the treacherous conditions, using specialist inflatable platforms, before leading the horses towards the bank and finally out of the water.
Both animals were then inspected by a vet and were not seriously injured.
Group manager Ian McDonald said the pair had “probably been in the ice for quite some time”.
He said: “They were standing in the water, which was shoulder height on them. It took a lot of coordinating and all our technical expertise to get them out.
“We had to deploy six specialist rescue technicians and we also had to use four rescue paths, which are inflatable paths that allow us to travel on the ice. We made our way to the horses and then put a collar and harness on them and led them to the bank.”
Mr McDonald said firefighters had to brave potentially treacherous conditions to cross the ice and finally save the two animals.
He added: “It is a dangerous environment but we are specially trained to do this.”
It was the second call-out to an animal trapped in ice yesterday and was the third instance since the cold snap gripped the county last week. Both earlier calls involved dogs and on each occasion the pets died.
Mr McDonald again warned people, and particularly dog walkers, about the potential dangers of frozen lakes.