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Cow drags farmer to safety in New Zealand
Updated: 2004-02-18 09:02

A New Zealand farmer escaped from a flooded river by hanging on to one of her cows as it struggled through the raging waters, local newspapers reported.

Kim Riley was swept off her feet by the current as she tried to turn a group of cows away from the rising river at her farm in Woodville, 80 miles north of Wellington.

"Before I knew it, I was pushed along with the cows," she said, adding that several swam over her as they struggled in the water.

The bruised farmer said she "drank a fair bit of water" as she struggled against the current. She grabbed at trees and a fence as they rushed past, but couldn't reach them.

"I looked back and saw one of the last cows bearing down on me. As she went by I threw my arm over her neck, Riley said.

The cow struggled to the bank with the farmer clinging to her.

"When we actually hit hard ground, we both sat there quite exhausted, and puffing, and shaking a little bit," Riley said.

Riley and her husband lost 15 of the 350 cows that were swept into the river. She said the animal that saved her, Cow 569, would get a bit of extra attention from now on.

"She's an old cow, an ugly old tart, but I'll have to say 'thank you' to her," Riley said.

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