A cow stuck in mud near Kircubbin, Co. Down has been saved after a two hour operation involving many firefighters, coastguard rescue teams, and a group of farmers.

The cow wandered from Rowreagh farm to water connected to the land last night (Saturday, June 15), where the animal then entered a marshy area and sank down up to its neck.

A passer-by happened to see the cow in trouble and contacted the farmer, Thomas Steele.

Steele said that he initially tried to save the 500kg cow himself, by walking out to her, about 30 metres from the shoreline.

However, Steele said that he had began sinking in the mud and knew “it wasn’t worth the risk”.

He then contacted the emergency services, who dispatched the fire brigade and contacted animal rescue teams.

The Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team; the Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team; and a specialist rescue team from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services (NIFRS) all attended the scene.

The teams came together and used a floating bridge to reach the cow and try to calm her down initially.

They then attached a rope and harness to her and “used a lifter to hoist her straight up”, according to Steele.

“It is hard to say exactly how long she was there, but I’d say about four or five hours. She was just exhausted and had kind of given up the fight,” Steele told Agriland.

Image source: Thomas Steele

Despite pure exhaustion, the cow suffered no injuries and “is back to herself today”, Steele said.

“I want to thank the fire services and the animal rescue team from Newcastle, they were so quick to respond,” Steele said.

He also thanked his father, William and brother, Samuel for coming to his help.