Holy cow: RNLI is called out to save unlucky animal that tumbled down cliff into the sea
A cow named 'Ghost' narrowly avoided becoming a sea phantom thanks to the prompt response of a courageous RNLI crew.
The cow apparently stumbled from the field in which it was grazing last Saturday down a cliff and on to shoreline rocks outside Kinsale, Co Cork.
The area is just a short distance from the popular tourist town, and close to Dock Beach and Jarley's Cove.
With the tide and waves lapping at her hooves, Ghost was at very real risk of drowning. The alarm was raised by a member of Kinsale Yacht Club.
The Irish Coast Guard referred the matter to Kinsale RNLI, and it launched an intricate operation to save the animal.
Kinsale RNLI official Kevin Gould said the painstaking operation was made all the more complicated by the fact that the cow was distressed and, as a result, unco-operative.
"It was a challenging rescue for our crew," he said. "The whole thing lasted about three-and-a-half hours. The animal was very distressed. She was also very aggressive."
Ghost had suffered cuts to her hooves and legs as she battled to find a safe ledge on the rocks.
RNLI members, supported by local volunteers, closed the beach and made the decision that the best way of saving the cow was to float it to safety.
The RNLI lifeboat Sally Anne Baggy II was used to gently guide and tow the cow to the safety of a nearby cove, where the animal could be brought ashore.
The farmer who owns Ghost assisted with handling the cow, who was by now fed up of all the humans trying to offer support.
Mr Gould said: "The concern was that if someone else had tried to help the cow, they could have ended up getting injured themselves. Our crew are specially trained for this kind of situation and have rescued animals before."
Despite becoming distressed after being in the sea, Ghost was still reluctant to allow her rescuers to guide her ashore.
Mr Gould said: "She did need a bit of gentle persuasion to get back up on to dry land."
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