A North Yorkshire Fire chief has spoken of the challenging and distressing scene they faced at an incident which left many animals dead or injured.
Tony Walker, Station Manager for York, Selby and Tadcaster, went to a crash on the B1248 near Malton yesterday afternoon which left an HGV on its side.
It was transporting 196 pigs.
He told David Dunning on YorkMix Radio that they were faced with a challenging scene: “The noise was absolutely horrendous because they should have been sat upright and all of a sudden they’ve been thrown and they’re all squashing each other.
“So they were really frightened.”
Firefighters gave first aid to the lorry driver. He is still in Hull Royal Infirmary being treated for injuries suffered in the crash.
They then had to create a pen to hold the pigs in after they were released from the HGV – which was a difficult task in itself.
Some people had suggested on social media that they should have righted the HGV.
“But if you imagine the amount of weight on board in one of those HGVs, and it’s on the side in mud, it’s not as easy a task as some people believe.
“So what we have to do is unload the vehicle for it to be righted.”
The platform allowing pigs to be carried on two levels inside the lorry had collapsed. “So we had to cut our way through some of the the structure of the vehicle to gain access to the pigs.
“Unfortunately we did we did lose quite a few. But we saved a lot more than than what perished.”
As an animal lover, Tony said he finds these sorts of jobs difficult. “Animals tend to be the the innocent party in anything.
“It is distressing for firefighters and myself when we turn up and we are confronted with a lot of injured animals just wandering off. When you’ve got hundreds of them it’s not a nice thing.
“I’d just like to extend our thanks to some of the local farmers that came and assisted us in moving the pigs. Obviously they are specialists at moving livestock, so they know a lot more about it than we do. So we really did appreciate that help.”