Among hundreds of rescues that occurred after Hurricane Ida battered the tri-state area is a story of a mild-mannered horse named Hank.
Hank the Horse was part of a trail ride at the Garret Mountain Reservation in Woodland Park, New Jersey. He and his rider now have quite the tale to tell after surviving what could have been a deadly fall through a rain-soaked bridge last Friday.
As the 16-year-old horse, who happens to weigh almost 2,500 lbs., made his way through a wooden bridge, one of his hooves broke through a wooden board and he was left suspended 20 feet above jagged rocks.
"I think just with all the rainwater and flooding that we have had, it must have softened one of the board enough for one of his hooves to go through it," said Sarah Martinez, owner of the horseback riding center Elite Equine Group.
Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark says he himself has run on the same bridge many times, and to see a horse stuck there was "quite a scene." As the fire department, first aid squad and a local towing company were called in, Kazmark took photos of the nightmare rescue situation.
Hank was sedated by his vet and he had to be fitted with large straps before being lifted out off the bridge by a huge crane.
"Hank is a super cool dude so he stayed really mellow the entire time," Martinez said.
The horse only suffered a few scratches, and while he never meant to stir up and trouble, his story has brought smiles to people after a dark few days. Twenty-seven were recorded in New Jersey after the region suffered catastrophic flash flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
"I've been an elected official in this town for 20 years and I've never seen the type of water that we saw," Kazmark said. "[Hank] has sort of become a bright light in what's been a trying, difficult week with the hurricane and the flooding and some of the challenges our community has been dealing with."