Happy ending after horses saved in a heroic flood rescue, as Mid North Coast residents continue to piece their lives back together | Ralph-Lauren

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Two months ago, floodwater rapidly surrounded Ann Biasol’s home and she feared she would lose her three beloved horses.

She was also at risk.

Life is yet to return to normal- Ms Biasol hasn’t yet moved back into her flood-ravaged home  — but her horses are alive and thriving and she feels very lucky.

She says she owes her animals’ survival to locals, who came to her rescue after she received word the State Emergency Service couldn’t reach her property, south of Crescent Head on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.

Phillip Aitkin launched a boat, and with the help of  another local horseman Leon Gray, the animals were walked and swum to higher ground. 

A cream and sky blue weatherboard is submerged in floodwaters.
Water surrounded Ann Biasol’s home along Maria River Road near Crescent Head.(

Supplied: Ann Biasol


Horses nearly submerged in floodwaters.
The horses were caught in rapidly rising floodwater.(

Supplied: Ann Biasol


The view from the front of a boat, looking over floodwater and submerged fence lines.
A boat was launched on a main road to rescue Ann and her horses during the March floods.(

Supplied: Ann Biasol


A bearded man in a hat atop a horse in floodwaters looks at the camera. Two other men on horses are ahead.
Leon Gray saved many animals caught in the flood which caught many property owners by surprise.(

Supplied: Leon Gray


Ms Biasol said it was an experience she wouldn’t forget.

“There were a lot of challenges,” she said.

“One more day and my horses would have drowned, so I was extremely lucky.”

A topless man, wearing a cap, rides a grey horse in floodwaters while holding another, one horse follows.
Leon Gray guides the tired horses to higher ground.(

Supplied: Ann Biasol


Road to recovery

A man stands between three horses in a paddock.
Ann’s horses are thriving again after receiving intensive daily care since the floods.(

ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian


Ms Biasol’s horses suffered severe skin injuries due to prolonged exposure to the floodwater, but after intensive daily treatment and medication they are back in good health.

“They had a lot of skin sloughing on their bodies. These horses were in the water for five days and right up to the waist and higher,” she said.

“Basically the treatment the vet put into play was like a burns victim treatment.”

A woman stands in a paddock smiling with a horse in the background.
Ann Biasol hopes to help other livestock owners in future emergencies by establishing a large animal evacuation centre.(

ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian


It’s been nine weeks and Ms Biasol is waiting for running water to be restored before she moves back into her home.

She said the lack of water meant a lot of the clean-up was still on hold.

A pile of rubbish on the ground with a barn in the background.
Ann Biasol is yet to moved back into her home, with no running water and much still to clean up.

“So at the moment I am going through photo albums and things which were just flooded.”

Hopes of reducing livestock losses in future floods

Cows standing in a flooded river.
A lot of livestock was lost during the March floods on the NSW Mid North Coast.(

Supplied: Ann Biasol


Ms Biasol’s horses are at a temporary home on Mr Aitkin’s nearby property on higher ground.

Mr Aitkin and Ms Biasol plan to create a livestock evacuation centre there, for future emergencies. 

“I rang so many people to try and find a place for the horses [during the flood] and it was almost impossible,” she said.

A young man stands in a paddock looking into the distance.
Phillip Aitkin helped rescue Ann and her horses and now is working to build a livestock evacuation centre.(

ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian


Mr Aitkin said many animals died during the March floods and he hoped the evacuation centre would help reduce livestock losses in the future.

“It’s probably going to be about a 12-month turnaround at least. We need fencing, stables and to redo the grass into some decent feed for horses and cattle,” he said.

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