Five fire crews sent, but cliff-fall sheep put down

Res­cue: Calls for im­proved fire crew train­ing

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

Spe­cial­ist fire crews were despatched from sta­tions across Tay­side and Fife in a doomed bid to save a sin­gle Aberdeen sheep.

Five crews were sent to a cliff-side near Nigg Bay in Aberdeen to try to res­cue the stranded an­i­mal, only for it to be shot dead on the ad­vice of a vet.

Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue said its lo­cal crews did not have the rope res­cue skills re­quired to un­der­take the po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous op­er­a­tion.

Mid Scot­land and Fife Con­ser­va­tive MSP Murdo Fraser said the en­tire episode “sounded like the plot of a 70s sit­com”.

He called for fire crews to be trained in as many dif­fer­ent means of res­cue as pos­si­ble to avoid leav­ing ar­eas with re­duced cover.

The in­ci­dent took place last month when the an­i­mal be­came stranded on a cliff at Nigg af­ter it strayed from nearby fields.

A farmer no­ti­fied Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue to the plight of the sheep at around 5pm. Crews ini- tially hoped to carry out a res­cue with the aid of a Coast­guard team.

How­ever, as fire crews from Perth, Dundee, Lochgelly and In­ver­ness made their way to the scene, a vet was li­ais­ing with Coast­guard crews and de­cided the res­cue at­tempt was too risky.

The Coast­guard con­firmed the an­i­mal had “fallen too far down the cliff and it would have put crews at risk to try and res­cue it”.

In­stead, a de­ci­sion was taken by the vet to “dis­patch” the an­i­mal, an ac­tion that was un­der­taken “us­ing a firearm” by the owner of the an­i­mal.

Mr Fraser said the in­ci­dent il­lus­trated the need for more ex­ten­sive train­ing of fire crews to pro­tect ser­vices lo­cally.

He added: “Call­ing out mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent fire crews and the Coast­guard to help res­cue a sin­gle sheep, only for it to be shot, sounds like the plot of a 70s sit­com and not mod­ern-day emer­gency ser­vices in Scot­land.

“If res­cu­ing stranded or in­jured live­stock is to be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the fire and res­cue ser­vice, it should be a core el­e­ment of fire crew train­ing.

“This in­ci­dent il­lus­trates gaps in knowl­edge ex­ist across the coun­try.”

“It should be a core el­e­ment of fire crew train­ing”

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