EMERGENCY teams from South Lakeland embarked on a race against time to help rescue a stricken cow from a rapidly rising tide in the River Lune.

The Flookburgh-based Bay Search and Rescue Team were called to assist in saving the bemused beast mired in mud on the riverbank near Overton.

Lancaster Fire Station were alerted to the stranded bovine at 10.30am on Friday by a woman who could see it struggling from her home.

Two fire appliances and a rescue Land Rover crewed by Blue Watch from Lancaster Fire Station were mobilised to the incident.

A request was sent for the attendance of the RNLI hovercraft to give safety cover from the River Lune.

Bay Search and Rescue (BSAR) – who have vast experience in sand rescue – were also called. BSAR had the ideal vehicle with a crane to use for extricating the animal, which could also safely transport team members to the scene.

On arrival they saw the incident would best be accessed from the opposite bank and relocated to gain access from the far side of the river.

Mike Davis, of Bay Search and Rescue, said: “It (the cow) had wandered off and got stuck in the mud, and was well and truly jammed in there when we arrived.

“Who knows how long it had been stuck, but it was trying to get itself out and actually digging itself further in.”

All three organisations worked for four hours using specialist equipment, mindful of the impending high tide which was lapping around their ankles.

Mr Davis said: “We were aware that we were about one hour short of high tide and if it didn’t come out at that point we’d have to leave so as not to put team members in danger.

“We gave it one last pull using lifting equipment and luckily it came out.

“It looked a very sorry sight at first but it was returned safely to the farmers, who were very happy.”

The cow belongs to Steven Hancock, of Colloway Farm, who did not wish to comment.