Water safety reminder after morning dip ends in rescue for ram


Release date: 20 May 2021

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is reminding all residents of the importance of taking extra care around water, after a ram that found itself up its ears in water had to be rescued by the service’s Technical Rescue Unit.

The unit was mobilised to a farm off Horsted Lane in Sharpthorne at 8.09am on Saturday morning after the farmer spotted the sheep had wandered away from the rest of the flock and ended up in a pond.

Once on scene the team was able to use their wade kit to enter the pond and safely rescue the ram, named Monty, using their animal rescue kit.

TRU Watch Manager Mick Lewin said: “We know how distressing it can be to see an animal in difficulty, be that a pet or livestock. But the farmer did the right thing in calling for help rather than trying to carry out the rescue himself.

“We had some pretty bad weather over the weekend, so the ground was very soggy underfoot, and water levels were significantly higher than they usually are, making going into the pond even more dangerous.

“That’s before you factor in that you’re dealing with an animal in distress which may not react the way you expect it to act, or understand that you are trying to help it.

“Fortunately as a team we were able to carry out a safe wade rescue into the pond and working together we were able to use our specialist equipment to bring the Monty the ram to shore with minimal distress.

“He is now making a full recovery with the rest of the flock, and we hope that his swimming days are behind him.”

The rescue comes after the TRU supported the National Fire Chiefs Council’s water safety week earlier this month, encouraging everyone to take extra care around all open water sources this summer.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the country with 223 people accidentally drowning in the UK in 2019. Almost half of these people (44%) just happened to be near water and had no intention of going into the water.

If you are heading to the water, please follow these simple steps:

  • If you are going for a walk or run near water stick to proper pathways and stay clear of the water’s edge.
  • If you are spending time near water make sure you are familiar with local safety information and children are fully supervised.
  • If you've had alcohol don't enter the water.
  • Be aware of rip tides and currents - they can drag you out to sea and are almost impossible to swim against.
  • Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal - always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available.
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