MCBRIDE, British Columbia (AP) — Two frostbitten, emaciated horses were recovering inside a warm barn on Saturday thanks to volunteers who spent the week before Christmas digging the animals out of snow in the mountains of northeastern British Columbia.
Birgit Stutz said Saturday that she and other rescuers cheered when they finally finished digging a half-mile escape route through the snow for the animals. The horses had been abandoned by a hunter and faced almost certain death.
Stutz said the horses eagerly accepted being bridled and seemed to know they were safe as volunteers led them on a seven-hour hike down the mountain in freezing temperatures on Tuesday. She said about 40 or 50 people took part in the rescue over the course of a week.
"It was a big effort," Stutz said in a telephone interview.
She said the horses were discovered on Dec. 15 by two local residents. They were above the tree line and had no shelter at first.
Logan Jeck and a friend stumbled across the horses while out looking for some snowmobiles left behind by tourists who had gotten stuck during a trip to the back country on the side of Mount Renshaw — about 750 miles northeast of Vancouver.