Man risks life to pull sheep from fast-moving floodwaters near Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 17:29 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 17 March 2018

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

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Pictures have emerged of the moment a passer-by risked his life to rescue stricken sheep from fast-flowing floodwaters near Otterton.

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah WhittinghamFarmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

Farmer Chris Chambers, from Otterton, braved the treacherous floodwaters of East Devon on Thursday morning, in an attempt to rescue two stricken rams.

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah WhittinghamFarmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

“We were about to leave the village, before we realised the road was not passable. I noticed two rams treading water, that were clearly distressed,” he said.

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah WhittinghamFarmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

Chris went to his home in the village and changed his clothes, before returning and wading into the floodwaters to try and save the animals.

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah WhittinghamFarmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

He said: “I must admit it was quite scary, there was a bit of a current, but you don’t really think about that at the time.”

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah WhittinghamFarmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

By the time Chris had retrieved the rams from the water, Devon and Somerset Fire Service officers were on the scene, who helped with the attempt to revive the animals - but to no avail.

Farmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah WhittinghamFarmer Chris Chambers joins in with the rescue attempt of sheep caught up in the flooding at Otterton. Picture: Sarah Whittingham

“One of them was already dead, but I got them both onto the road and tried to revive the other one and warm it up. It was in shock and had hypothermia.

“It was a bit gutting to be honest, but unfortunately it was just too late - it was suffering from complete exhaustion,” he said.

Unfortunately, neither of the animals survived the incident.

The Journal previously reported how emergency Services were called to Otterton on Thursday after reports of animal lives being in danger, which resulted in 12 people being led to safety.

Throughout the day floodwaters caused havoc on roads in the Otterton and budleigh area, and submerged parts of Otterton Mill’s car park in as much as 16 inches of water.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “If you do see an animal in fast flowing water do not try and rescue the animal but call the emergency services.”

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