Twelve horses killed in Canadian freeway accident

Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:16pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Twelve horses were killed and dozens more had to be rescued by firefighters using metal cutters after the tractor-trailer carrying them flipped over on a western Canadian freeway on Friday.

Some of the animals died in the accident in Calgary, Alberta, and others had to be euthanized at the scene or transported elsewhere to be put down, fire department spokesman Jeff Budai said.

"There were broken legs and cuts and swelling. It was not the prettiest sight -- pretty disturbing and heart-wrenching, Budai said.

The driver was not injured in the single-vehicle accident, which occurred in the morning in the city's southeast, and police are investigating the cause. The 44 horses that were in the trailer are owned by a farmer, Budai said.

When rescuers arrived on the scene, they found about six spooked horses that had been freed from the wreckage and were running around the major thoroughfare. Crews arranged for trailers in which to put the animals and transport them.

Budai said firefighters had to take special care to cut into the damaged trailer, which was lying on its side, fearing that it could collapse on the animals trapped inside.

It took about three hours for firefighters and a team of volunteers to extract the horses, both dead and alive, he said.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Frank McGurty)