THIRTY PIGS have died in horrifying circumstances at a farm in County Antrim, Northern Ireland after falling into a slurry pit.
Officers from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and a specialist Large Animal Rescue team were called to a farm on Ballinderry Road, Aghalee at about 09:20 GMT on Saturday, February 1.
They were contacted after some 55 pigs became stuck in a slurry pit on the agricultural property.
All told, six crews attended the incident in an attempt at rescuing the increasingly panic-stricken animals.
Speaking earlier this weekend, NIFRS Group Commander, Andrew Woods appeared quietly confident that a rescue was possible.
"You can imagine the slurry pit, there's going to be an awful lot of slurry and the pigs are in a very agitated state, so trying to rescue these pigs from the slurry would be a very difficult and time-consuming operation.
"It is a difficult scene for crews to deal with, but we have measures in place, coping mechanisms, that firefighters can avail of if necessary."
Ultimately, they succeeded in rescuing 25 of the pigs from the slurry, however, despite the best efforts of the emergency services on the scene, the 30 remaining animals died.
The Health and Safety Executive has begun an initial inquiry into the incident to try and determine how the pigs became trapped.