Swiss police save horse in dramatic river rescue

An afternoon walk almost turned to tragedy on Thursday when a rider fell from his horse, causing the animal to slip into the Rhône.

Swiss police save horse in dramatic river rescue
The frightened horse is lifted from the water. Photo: Police cantonale du Valais

The incident occurred at 4pm on Thursday, when the rider lost his balance during a riverside excursion in Naters, in the canton of Valais. His horse then slipped on the icy path, falling into the water.

Luckily, emergency services were able to save the horse from drowning with mountain rescue service Air Zermatt using a helicopter to lift the frightened animal to safety, with assistance from firefighters.

The horse is carried to safety. Photo: Police cantonale du Valais

Neither the rider nor horse were injured.

The police posted pictures of the rescue on their Facebook page, describing the accident as “a story which ends well”. Many Facebook users congratulated the rescuers on their swift intervention, with user Patricia Isenring commenting “thank you for being present in our lives”.

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Switzerland jails 84-year-old bank robber

Swiss authorities have sent an 84-year-old bank robber to prison. The man, who robbed the same bank twice, had hoped his age would see him avoid sentencing.

Switzerland jails 84-year-old bank robber

A court in the Swiss canton of Lucerne has jailed an 84-year-old man for two years and four months for two bank robberies stretching back across the past decade. 

The man, named in Swiss media as Willi P, has been given a partially suspended sentence and will only need to serve six months. 

The man robbed a bank in Meggen in 2012 and in 2017, stealing around CHF13,000 in total. 

He threatened the bank’s employees with a folding pocket knife placed inside a plastic bag to look like a gun. 

The man avoided jail in 2021 when the case was brought to court, with the judges saying he was too old. 

This time, the cantonal court disagreed. 

“According to the case law of the federal court, even a relatively old age does not in principle justify a particular sensitivity to punishment, which must be taken into account to reduce the sentence,” the court said. 

READ MORE: Why do foreigners ‘commit more violent crimes’ than the Swiss?

Willi P was remorseful, telling the media he was “heartbroken” by what he had done, telling the press his wife had no idea about the robberies. 

“I’m really sorry for everything and felt heartbroken. Afterwards I said to myself: Hey, you are stupid! Why do you still have to do something like this at this age?”

The man pleaded with the court not to sentence him, saying “I’ve been punished enough with my poor health. I am sorry.”

While the court noted that due to the man’s advanced age he may die in jail, this was not enough of an exceptional circumstance to prevent the sentence.