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Three cows up to their neck in slurry rescued after falling into tank on Co Tyrone farm

Rescuers used special equipment to save the animals. Credit: NIFRS West/PA

Emergency services in Northern Ireland were called to an unsavoury festive rescue after Christmas as three cows fell into a stinking slurry pit on a farm.

A range of specialist crews from across Northern Ireland attended the incident at a farm outside Dromore, Co Tyrone, on 28 December before sharing pictures from the incident on New Year’s Eve.

A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “Firefighters wore breathing apparatus and used rescue lines to pull the animals free from the slurry pit.

“Gas monitors were used throughout the incident to continually monitor gas levels from the slurry.”

The cows were almost submerged in the slurry tank. Credit: NIFRS West/PA

Aside from concerns around keeping down the Christmas dinner, rescuers also needed to consider the more serious risks from working amid toxic gasses from the slurry, hazards associated with “large animals in distress”, dangers of contamination or infection and other problems in the “dirty and hazardous conditions”.

Despite the operation taking several hours, NIFRS reported no injuries to staff and three cows were successfully pulled from the mess.

“Well done to all our crews involved,” the service said in a Facebook post describing the incident.

Firefighters used heavy machinery to lift the animals out of the slurry tank. Credit: NIFRS West/PA

In a show of good humour, they added hashtags including #WorkingOffTheXmasDinner, #UpToOurNecksInIt and #NotJustFires.

One concerned Facebook user wrote: “Oh my word!! They’re lucky all survived!

“Slurry tanks are my worst fear when on the farms!!”