Holy cow - crane in Attunga mine 'steak-out'

A COW that miraculously survived for almost a week after falling 30m down an abandoned mine shaft near Tamworth has been liberated from her underground prison in a daring rescue.

The indestructible angus was grazing on a property at Attunga last Monday when it lost its footing on some uneven ground and tumbled rear-first down the narrow shaft of the forgotten gold mine.

LIVE-SAVER: Tamworth man Ben Scheithe releases the cow, stuck down an abandoned mine shaft at Attunga for almost a week, from its harness.

LIVE-SAVER: Tamworth man Ben Scheithe releases the cow, stuck down an abandoned mine shaft at Attunga for almost a week, from its harness.

Remarkably, the animal survived the fall without any obvious injuries and initially seemed content to wander around a tunnel connected to the shaft, consuming hay and water thrown down to it.

The cow’s owner, who did not wish to be named, approached the RSPCA about the possibility of rescuing the cow, but after several days of negotiations the animal group ruled it too dangerous.

By Friday, hopes the cow was still alive had faded, after its food and water went untouched for several days, and the farmer told The Leader he suspected it was “all over”.

Undeterred, however, a group of locals who had heard about the cow’s plight on Facebook banded together to mount their own rescue mission on Sunday.

Dave Pascoe and Reece Glass, of Tamworth Crane Services, supplied a crane, and experienced climber Ben Scheithe volunteered to make the descent.

“I got to the bottom and started walking and ... went down a hill and about 15m away was the cow,” Mr Scheithe said.

“She couldn’t reverse back up and there was no way for her to turn around, which is why she wasn’t coming near the hole.

“She turned her head a bit and was just looking at me. She didn’t move, didn’t freak out. I assessed what I had to do, started patting her and I think she was glad to see me.”

After much difficulty wrangling the severely weakened animal back to the shaft – at one point she stopped breathing, prompting Mr Scheithe to pump her chest with his foot to revive her – she was placed in a sling and hoisted to freedom.

“It was incredible, absolutely incredible,” Mr Pascoe said.

“It was a good result. When she came out of the hole I thought she was dead, because she was pretty limp, but she came good.

“She had a big bruise on her backside. Other than that, she was pretty bloody good for having been down there for so long.”

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