Rescue workers in the Netherlands have been trying to save a herd of around 100 horses, that have been stranded on a tiny knoll since a fierce storm flooded their pasture two days ago. Many of the animals have spent two nights knee-deep in water, and 18 have drowned. Link
Update, Nov. 3: A herd of 100 horses that had been trapped by flood waters for four days in Holland have been rescued.
Water levels receded enough to allow rescue riders, including veterinarians, firefighters and animal welfare officers to reach the horses.
Eighteen of the animals had died before the rescue, while another 20 were ferried to safety on boats on Thursday.
Rescue efforts had been hampered by high waters in the flooded meadow by the Wadden Sea, near the northern town of Marrum.
Dutch media showed pictures of the panicky animals crowded together on a patch of land surrounded by knee-deep water, which was pushed outside the dykes of Marrum by a storm on Tuesday.
Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident. The horses’ owners said they had forgotten about the animals when the storm started.
The Netherlands, two-thirds of which lies below sea level, has battled for centuries to claw back land from the sea and protect itself against floods. Link
Pix and comments from the BBC:
An attempt to rescue about 100 horses stranded on a stretch of flooded land has gripped the Netherlands.
The animals were trapped for three days after storms struck the area around Marrum, 145km (90 miles) north-east of Amsterdam.
Nineteen horses drowned before help arrived.
The nearest land was only a few hundred metres away but there were fears that submerged barbed wire might hurt the horses if they tried to swim to safety.
Animal welfare officers and firefighters waded through the waters to map out an escape route.
Four women on horseback then led the herd about 600 metres to safety.
The one horse that failed to follow the herd was eventually brought to safety, but collapsed and needed attention from veterinarians.
A complaint has been lodged against the horses’ owners for allegedly failing to heed storm warnings.