Swan Hits Road Bridge

Veterinary ambulances from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) rushed to Eastbourne this evening after a motorist reported seeing a swan fly into the side of the A22 Golden Jubilee Way next to Shinewater Lake, Eastbourne tonight.

“Volunteer rescuers Kai Ahmed and Fiona Palmer from our hospital in Whitesmith and off duty Rescue Co-ordinator Chris Riddington from Eastbourne rushed to the dual carriageway after reports of the swan hitting the bridge barrier at the side of the road. The motorist was quite shocked after seeing the large white bird appear and spin round in the air after hitting the barrier. She was not sure if the swan then landed on the road or fell to the ground below the bridge. Out of concern that the swan could potentially get hit by a car or be seriously injured I sent a team to investigate” said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks.

Rescuers Kai, Fiona and Chris searched the area in the pouring rain using torch lights and a thermal imaging camera. They walked the whole area over the bridge and under the bridge and the surrounding lake and run offs.

“After spending over an hour searching the area Kai spotted a lone swan not far from the bridge in a small pool. The pool linked to the river which went past the bridge. The swan’s behaviour in conjunction with the location made then feel this was the crashed swan.  With the rain pouring down, the swan in water and working in  pitch black darkness the rescuers had to be very careful” explained Trevor.

“Kai rushed back to the ambulance and grabbed a swan hook, long poles and some nets. Fiona covered the inlet with her net to stop the swan escaping allowing Kai and I to attempt the rescue. I stood on one bank with a net and long pole stood, and Kai on the other with a swan hook. Because we had been searching the road we had high visibility jackets on, and had to take them off in the rain and get wet as they were scaring the swan away from us. Kai hid in the reeds whilst I encouraged the swan towards him and after a few attempts the swan got close enough for Kai to catch using a swan hook” explained Chris.

“Once back at the ambulance I quickly gave the swan a head to toe examination before it was transported back to WRAS’s Casualty Centre at Whitesmith” added Chris, “at the hospital Casualty manager Katie Nunn Nash along with Kai and Fiona gave the swan a further assessment and check over  and found the swan to be dazed and with a few minor marks but otherwise in fairly good  condition and no serious injuries.  After being given medication the swan was bedded down for the night and was clearly very pretty hungry too. He will be reassessed again in the morning. Being a youngster this swan has clearly been very lucky and survived it ordeal and hopefully is just a bit shocked and bruised. This could have been a much worse outcome.”

WRAS’s rescue service is funded by donations and it one of limited number of organisations which provides a round the clock emergency service for wildlife in East Sussex. To support the charity or to finds out more about their work please visit their website www.wildlifeambulance.org or to make a donation call 01825-873003.

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