Horse dies in muddy fissure after storm

Emergency crews were unsuccessful Sunday in attempting to rescue this horse trapped in a fissure in Queen Creek. ARIZONA HUMANE SOCIETY

A horse died Sunday afternoon after emergency crews worked nearly six hours pull it from an 8-foot deep fissure that became dangerous after heavy rains hit the Queen Creek ranch last night.

The 13-year-old horse, weighing 1,100 pounds, likely became trapped in the half-mile long fissure early Sunday morning during the storm, Maricopa County Sherriff’s office Deputy Doug Matteson said.

The owners attempted to remove the horse from the muddy fissure themselves, Matteson said, but they realized the horse was stuck and called authorities.

A Mesa Fire Department trench unit responded to the call, along with at least 15 rescue workers from the Sherriff’s office mountain rescue team and a veterinarian to monitor the animal.

The horse was fully entrenched in the mud over its head, and it was on its back, Matteson said. Rescue units worked throughout the morning with boards, backhoes and other heavy machinery to extricate the animal. But the horse died during the effort at about 1:30 p.m.

Matteson said while he believed the veterinarian on the scene never administered any tranquilizers to the animal, the family did, trying to calm the horse and ease its pain.

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