Firefighters rescue swans trapped in disused sewage works

The birds had got into difficulty at Newbridge Sewerage Treatment Works near Edinburgh earlier this month.

Three swans were rescued from a disused sewage works after a five-hour operation involving 15 firefighters.

Animal welfare experts worked with the fire crews to free the birds at Newbridge Sewerage Treatment Works near Ratho, just outside Edinburgh.

The Scottish SPCA was called to the scene on April 20 after workers spotted the trapped swans. One bird had already died.

The animal welfare officers were not able to get the birds out themselves and three fire appliances were sent to the scene to help.

After being rescued, the unharmed swans were released in a safe area.

Scottish SPCA inspector Jennifer Surgeon said: “The swans had become trapped in the decommissioned sewage tanks. Sadly, one swan had already passed away, so we knew it was imperative that we get the remaining three birds out.

“My colleagues, animal rescue officer Darren Malcolm and senior animal rescue officer Melissa Mailtand, and I tried to retrieve the swans but we were unable to reach them.

Swan rescue
The Scottish SPCA and fire service worked together on the rescue (Scottish SPCA/PA)

“We called the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who were able to assist with the incident.

“In the end it took three fire appliances, around 15 firefighters and five hours to get the swans out.

“Thankfully the swans were unharmed after their ordeal and we were able to transport them to a safe area for release.

“We’re really grateful to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for their assistance with this incident. Without them, we’d have had no way to reach the swans.”

Two of the swans were trapped in a round tank and rescuers used a combination of nets, swan hooks and a hose filled with air as an inflatable to get them out.

The inflated hose forced the swans to move towards the side of the tank, where they could be reached.

The third swan was in a rectangular tank and two of the firefighters used a ladder to go down and catch it.

The Scottish SPCA is running a #WildlifeWise campaign which aims to educate the public on when wild animals may require assistance and when it is best to leave them alone.

The charity’s animal helpline is open from 7am-9pm every day and can be reached on 03000 999 999.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access