Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service


Date, Time: Sunday 29 July 2018, 11.36am
Location: Ballinderry Road, Aghalee

NIFRS’s largest Animal Rescue Incident took place yesterday (29 July 2018) as Firefighters rescued 72 pigs from a slurry pit on a farm in Aghalee, Co.Antrim. NIFRS received a call at 11.36am yesterday morning to attend an incident on the Ballinderry Road, Aghalee. 74 pigs, each weighing approximately 100kg had fallen into a pit containing approximately 3 feet of slurry.


NIFRS Large Animal Rescue Teams from Newcastle and Omagh Fire Stations, the Specialist Rescue Team from Central Fire Station and Fire Crews from Lurgan, Crumlin and Newcastle Fire Stations worked for nearly 7 hours in this protracted and challenging incident.


Firefighters from the Animal Rescue Teams wore breathing apparatus and used rescue lines to pull the animals free from the slurry pit.  Gas monitors were used throughout the incident to continually monitor gas levels from the slurry. Firefighters rescued 72 pigs and 2 pigs died.  In terms of animal numbers this is largest animal rescue incident attended by NIFRS.


Farm animals in distress can pose a serious risk to farmer or anyone else attempting to rescue them.  Slurry incidents in particular pose their own serious risks given the dangerous gases that can be present in slurry. We would advise farmers not to attempt to rescue animals in these situations and to call 999 for assistance.


The incident was dealt with at 5.53pm.

Group Commander Geoff Somerville with the rescued pigs.

Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker



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