Stranded horse rescued by helicopter

PHOENIX, March 16 (UPI) -- A horse stranded for five days on a sandbar in the Gila River west of Phoenix has been freed by helicopter, rescue workers said.

The helicopter and a rescue team arrived at the river near Buckeye, Ariz., Tuesday morning and airlifted the horse to safety, KNXV-TV, Phoenix, reported.


The animal was in good condition, its owner said.

"I didn't sleep much last night," Mark Eshenbaugh said. "I couldn't wait until this happened. It's more than I've ever seen in my life."

Eshenbaugh has raised the horse, named "Colorado," since its birth.

He made his way to the river every day to check on the horse, he said.

"He gets many special treats for the rest of his life," Eshenbaugh said after the airlift rescue. "He's happily sedated, otherwise he's fine."

Colorado, along with two other horses and their riders, was swept away by strong currents in the river Friday afternoon. One of those horses was rescued, but the other suffered a broken leg and had to be put down, KTVK-TV, Phoenix, reported.

All three riders were rescued.

The rescue of Colorado was coordinated by the Arizona Equine Rescue Organization and paid for by an anonymous donor, KNXV-TV said.


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