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Rescue in Vain, Horse Dies After Fall Into Harbor

June 23, 1989|From United Press International

BOSTON — An 18-year-old police horse fell through a pier into Boston Harbor Thursday and died despite frantic efforts to save the frightened animal with a huge crane and life preservers, officials said.

One man even ventured into the water and held the horse's head afloat in a valiant but failed rescue attempt, according to police.

The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m. when Officer Ed Cahill dismounted by Pier 1 to investigate a parking violation and tethered his horse, Fortret, out of the sun on the paved pier, police said. About five minutes later, Cahill said he saw the horse fall through the hot tar.

"He (the horse) had apparently fallen through a hole that was not more than 3 by 3 (feet)," said Dr. Mark Goldstein, executive director of the MetroPark zoos, who responded to police requests for a veterinarian.

Mounted Boston police officers, Metropolitan District Commission police, Boston firefighters and an Animal Rescue League veterinarian joined in efforts to extricate the chestnut-colored horse, a 10-year veteran of the mounted patrol.

"When I got there, there were numbers of people in (the water) trying to help the horse. They had life preservers under the horse to try to keep him afloat," Goldstein said. He said one man had jumped into the water and was holding Fortret's head above the surface.

Workers using a crane hoisted the animal out of the water. Onlookers gathered on the nearby Northern Avenue bridge cheered as Fortret was brought to the surface.

But the horse had apparently broken his back and may have also broken several ribs, Goldstein said. The animal died as it was being treated for shock.

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