A distressed horse has been rescued by two surfers and a local fisherman after swimming about 2 kilometres out to sea at a South Australian beach.
- The horse had managed to make its way about 2 kilometres offshore when a local called for help
- When the horse made its way back to shore, it ran off up the cliffs, and the rescuers had to give chase
- The surf club president said the rescue was a great example of a community team effort
Footage of the rescue at Moana Beach was posted on social media on Tuesday after the horse seemingly swam away from its owners during a routine exercise at the popular beach south of Adelaide.
Moana Surf Lifesaving Club president Angela Farrier said she was on the scene during the ordeal and her club had been notified as soon as the horse made a run for it at about 9:00am.
“He was heading out to sea and the owner was quite distressed because she couldn’t get him back,” Ms Farrier said.
Ms Farrier said the horse had managed to make its way about 2 kilometres offshore when a local photographer called for help from two surfers nearby.
Members of the surf lifesaving team then leapt into action, with a local fisherman also joining in the rescue brigade.
“There’s a local photographer there who is there most days and he knows a lot of local people and a couple of people turned up at the beach that he knew,” she said.
“They had boards on their roof so he called them to go out and chase the horse out there and see what they could do.
“Meanwhile we got the call out that there was a rescue so we got a couple of people and got the inflatable rescue boat (IRB), which is always rescue-ready.
“By then a local fisherman had turned up and was helping the two guys on the boards to get the horse.”
Ordeal continued as horse ran towards cliff
Ms Farrier said the two surfers and the fisherman managed to turn the horse around and when the rescue boat made it to the scene, the horse began to swim back towards the shore.
But when the horse made it back to land, the ordeal was not over.
“When it got back to shore it took off up the cliffs and ended up running straight up the cliff and headed south so then it was a foot chase because he was spooked and he ran,” she said.
“It was a combination of one of our life savers who scaled the cliff and one of the surfers and two of the owners, and police were also helping.
“They all finally caught it and it was a bit stressful at first because the horse was quite close to the edge of the cliff.
“Once the owner got hold of it and talked to it it was fine, and they walked it all the way back along the beach so everyone got to see it and that it was okay.”
Ms Farrier said the horse calmed down once it made its way back to the surf club, but the stressful ordeal had lasted more than 40 minutes.
Although stressful, she said the happy ending showcased the teamwork of the local community.
“I was thinking the only other way, if the horse didn’t turn around, was to get the Westpac 1 [helicopter] in to harness him and pull him out,” she said.
“If he hadn’t of been able to swim back we wouldn’t have been able to drag him back … but it worked out well with two local surfer heroes and a local fisherman.
“It was a good community team effort, everyone was there and ready to help and got involved.”