A seven-day high-risk rescue mission as RAF Helicopters transports a stranded cow to safety after plunging into a 150-foot waterfall in Cumbria

A cow that plunged down a 150ft waterfall in Cumbria was airlifted to safety by an RAF helicopter five days later.

Farmer Martin Smith, 27, noticed that one of his 60 cows had gone missing on July 6 and started searching for it.

He eventually found his missing cow at the bottom of the Crammel Linn waterfall near Gisland near the border between Cumbria and Northumberland.

A cow that plunged down a 150tf waterfall in Cumbria was airlifted to safety by an RAF helicopter after five days of rescue attempts when even the fire service couldn’t help

Over the moon: The stranded Galloway cow is airlifted to safety after being stuck at the bottom of a waterfall in Cumbria for five days

Heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the 15-year-old Galloway cow’s disappearance meant that the animal wasn’t able to climb to safety.

Multiple rescue attempts were launched during the week before the RAF were called to help the struggling cow.

A Puma helicopter operated by the 28 Squadron airlifted the cow back to safety.

A pathway leads down to the ravine where the cow was stuck and Mr Smith believes a gate may have been left open allowing the cow to wander to the edge of the waterfall.


He said: ‘The cow must have gone down and then got scared and slipped down as it’s quite steep.

The RAF 28 Squadron were contacted after the cow’s owners and the fire service were unable to help the animal

Airborne: The 15-year-old cow begins its flight as a Puma helicopter raises it into the air

‘We noticed she was missing later that evening and then when I went to look I spotted her down there.

‘We tried to get her out and even called the fire brigade but it was to no avail.

‘It had been raining a lot and it was so muddy so it was too slippery to get her out ourselves.

‘She’s quite old as well so she just didn’t have the strength.’

The RAF were contacted after the fire service was unable to rescue the cow and Craig, who runs Wiley Sike farm said: ‘Yesterday we got confirmation that a helicopter was going to come and save her.

Two men approach the cow that became stranded after plunging down a waterfall in Cumbria

The rescue team help the cow onto its side so that cables can be attached to it before it is lifted into the air by an RAF helicopter

‘It was a massive relief to know we’d get her out.

‘It was looking quite grim at one point and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to get her out.

‘I went down and fed her every day but I thought, what am I going to do here.

‘But when we got her out it was a wonderful moment.

‘It was quite a dramatic event – I’ve never seen anything like it.

Suspense: Two people in high-visibility jackets watch on as the RAF helicopter lifts a stranded cow to safety

‘I was there as they carried her out in a harness and it was like something out of an action movie.’

The 28 Squadron had been flying operational training missions at RAF Spadeam and agreed to help rescue the animal.

Wing Commander Lawrence, said: ‘The 28 Sqn crew have made an extremely difficult task seem simple and the quick rescue and rapid recovery of the cow is testament to their skill and to the Army Air Corps colleagues who assisted in the operation.

‘With RAF Spadeadam personnel having been deployed to Northumberland and Cumbria to support the national Covid-19 response, it is great to now be able to help one of our local farmers and to provide my colleagues in the Joint Helicopter Command with some realistic training.

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