By Ellie Duncombe
The great escape! – A swan that was found wrapped in 10 metres of fishing line is finally freed by rescuers.
Members of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out to the River Ouse at Barcombe Mills after bystanders noticed a swan in distress.
The stranded swan was attached to a long length of braided fishing line which was wrapped around its body, neck, wings and legs.
Rescuers used a dry suit and boat to get close enough to the swan to secure it and cut it free before removing 10 metres of the wire from its body.
Trevor Weeks, founder of East Sussex WRAS, said: “At first we thought the swan was going to stay in the bushes and hide but it suddenly attempted to fly off down the river and when the line became taut the swan flipped round and started struggling in the water.
“We assumed that the line would break and the swan would be set free, however the line was so strong that even a 10kg swan couldn’t break it.
“It was clearly not suitable to be using on a river such as this.”
Rescuer Chris Riddington was able to get close enough with the boat to secure the swan and get him onto the boat and wrapped in a pillow case for safety, whilst Trevor swam out to help cut the line from the vegetation.
Rescuers checked the swan over but because of how inter-woven the line was it was decided that the swan would be taken to the Rescue Centre to better assess the line and whether it had caused any lasting damage.
Chris said: “At our Casualty Centre I was able to unwrap the line which was tangled all through the feathers and I had to cut the line in several places to make it easier to remove.
“There must have been at least 10 metres of line which was removed.”
After a thorough check over the swan had luckily not sustained any serious injuries and so it was returned to the river and back to its partner that appeared to be waiting.