11-hour rescue: Horse safe after falling into hole in Huron County

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TOWNSEND TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW)– A Huron County horse is safely back above ground after an unbelievable fall and harrowing rescue.

“My initial thought was, ‘Oh my gosh, how did she get down into that hole?'” said Daphne Nelson, Humane Investigator with the Huron County Humane Society.

Nelson was called to the farm on Cook Road Tuesday along with nearly a dozen Townsend Township Firefighters and Huron County Sheriff’s deputies.

A young, 1,200-pound horse named Ana had somehow fallen through a 27-by-27-inch hole into a 7-foot-deep cement cistern. Basically, an underground reservoir on the farm. 

Ana’s owners weren’t sure how it happened, but found her there after she went missing around 8 a.m.

“We were told there was a cover on the cistern, so not sure if she knocked if off with her hoof and went in or how she ended up in there,” Nelson said.

One of the owners drained the cisterns water and climbed down inside it with blankets for Ana to prevent hypothermia.

Nelson said everyone was very concerned about the horse and any possibly injuries from her fall.

“There was some worry as to how long she could stay there,” Nelson said.

Haynes Construction Company was also called to the scene with a backhoe and began digging down to the base of the cistern’s outer wall. Then, firefighters and workers began knocking a hole in the water from both outside and inside the cistern using sledgehammers.

“One of the firefighters got down into the cistern with the owner and the horse, breaking the wall out from the inside,” Nelson said.

About 11 hours later the hole was finally large enough for Ana to exit the cistern.

Much to everyone’s surprise the young horse came bounding out of the cistern to safety and incredibly with only a few scratches on her back leg.

“By the time it was said and done, I was happy she came out and went straight to her feet, got her hay and she was loving all the attention,” Nelson said.

After checking on the horse Friday, Nelson told FOX 8 News that both she and her owners were doing great and extremely grateful for everyone’s help, although still baffled by Ana’s fall.

“In 13 years, no, I’ve never seen a horse in a well, in a cistern like this,” Nelson said.

The Huron County Humane Society, located at 246 Woodlawn Ave. in Norwalk, has also set up a fund to help the family cover the rescue costs from the construction company. 

“We’re going to work with them to see about getting donations to help the family out because they are on a limited income,” said Nelson.

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