Man nearly lost his leg after cow charged him as he rescued a couple

Good Samaritan nearly lost his leg after ‘berserk’ cow charged and trampled him as he rescued a couple being battered by 70st beast

  • Charlie Hird, 64, was kicked in the head and had his left leg crushed
  • The Cumbrian man intervened after seeing a couple attacked while on a walk
  • The retired chef said he thought ‘it’s game over’, as everything ‘went black’
  • An air ambulance rescued Mr Hird, who then underwent 6-hour operation

A Good Samaritan who rescued a couple from being battered by a ‘beserk’ cow nearly lost his leg after the 70 stone beast trampled him.

Charlie Hird, 64, was out on a group walk in Cumbria when he spotted a man too close to a cow, who attacked both him and another walker, believed to be his wife.

Mr Hird bravely intervened, but was then charged by the furious bovine himself, sustaining serious injuries.

At first, he managed to side-step the animal, but then he tripped and fell into a gutter and ended up with the enraged animal on top of him.

During the horrific two-minute attack, the Cumbrian man was booted in the head, had his left leg crushed, and everything ‘went black’.

The retired chef described how he tried to stand and fell, before painfully crawling away from the creature and playing dead for fear she’d strike again, while the cow tried to find her calf.

Mr Hird’s horrified walking companions called 999 and an air ambulance was dispatched.

Shocking footage from just after the attack in October 2021 shows a screaming Mr Hird being treated by ambulance staff, before being whisked off to hospital.

Surgeons told the injured man that there was a 50/50 chance he would lose his leg.

However, the keen walker underwent a six-hour operation to rebuild his leg, which thankfully was successful.

Mr Hird was in hospital for three weeks to recover, before returning home and learning to walk again.

He is coming forward now to share his ordeal to highlight the importance of avoiding cows, especially those with their young, to avoid anyone else getting hurt.

Mr Hird, from Alston, Cumbria, said: ‘When the cow fell on top of me, it went black.

Charlie Hird (pictured on stretcher above) was brutally attacked by a cow while on a group walk in Cumbria 

Fellow walkers Carole Grahame and Trisha Davies rushed to Mr Hird’s rescue, but his injuries left him using crutches for a year (Left to right: Carole Grahame, Charlie Hird, Trisha Davies)

Mr Hird (pictured here with his dog Tigger) was charged by the cow as he tried to rescue two other walkers

‘I honestly thought, ‘that’s it I’ve had it, it’s game over’.

‘As she got up she kicked my head with her foot, that gave me a gash down the side of my head.

‘I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t see very well, my eyes were full of blood.

‘At first I didn’t realise she’d stood on my leg. I tried to stand up and fell over, that’s when I realised my leg was broken.

‘I crawled along the grass to a wall and I played dead.

‘I could hear her shouting for her calf, she wasn’t trying to come back at me. She didn’t know where the calf was, that’s what saved everybody. I knew if she came back we’d had it.

‘From start to finish it was two minutes, that fast. They’re pretty agile when they’re that annoyed.’

Mr Hird and his basset hound Tigger had been out with a walking group on October 21 on public land near Hallbankgate in Cumbria when he spotted a man walking near a cow and her calf.

As the man, who was walking on his own, walked towards the cow and her calf, she tossed her head, flattening him and attempting to gore him.

A female walker, believed to be his wife, distracted the beast but was also pushed to the ground and kicked a number of times.

Fearing the pair would be trampled to death, Mr Hird drew the cow off by shouting and walking towards them.

After dodging the initial charge, Mr Hird stumbled and fell into a gutter and the cow landed on top of him.

He said: ‘I’d fallen back behind the group dealing with Tigger [who’d been to the toilet].

‘There was a guy walking on his own. Everyone else was going round the cow but this guy was walking straight towards her and her young calf.

An air ambulance was called and Mr Hird was airlifted to a hospital in Newcastle

Mr Hird (pictured above) said he wants to raise awareness of the fact that cows can be dangerous and should be avoided, to help prevent further incidents like his

‘I thought ‘what’s he doing?’ He kept walking and the cow says, ‘right, I’ve had enough of him’ and goes for him.

‘His wife intervened and tried to get the cow off but she goes for her and went down on the ground.

‘The cow was going berserk – legs flying and kicking. Honest to God, I thought, ‘somebody’s going to die’ so I tried to draw the cow off away from them.

‘I walked towards the cow, shouted at her and tried to draw her away, which worked.

‘She charged and came for me. As she came for me I side-stepped to get out of the way of her head.

‘As I did that I forgot there was a gutter behind me and I fell into it. As she was trying to get me she stumbled in the gutter and then fell on top of me.

‘When she stood up she put her foot on my femur on my left leg and crushed it.’

Once paramedics arrived, they assessed that the couple Mr Hird had saved had only superficial injuries, while his dog Tigger was unharmed.

Mr Hird said: ‘It’s just beautiful to hear the helicopter coming, because you know it’s help.’ (Pictured: The air ambulance arriving at the scene)

‘It was another level of pain,’ Mr Hird said but said he was ‘happy’ to be alive and to have his leg (Pictured: The air ambulance arriving on the scene)

The hero walker said: ‘One of the ladies on the walk rang for help.

‘The woman from 999 was listening to me and said to my friend, ‘I can hear him, he’s getting worse so I’m getting the air ambulance.

‘I was deteriorating quite quickly because I was going into shock.

‘I screamed when they tried to take my boot off, it was another level of pain.

‘I heard the helicopter and that was amazing. It’s just beautiful to hear the helicopter coming, because you know it’s help.’

Mr Hird was airlifted to Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, where surgeons battled to save his leg, putting a piece of titanium in from the knee up to his hip.

He said: ‘A lot of people wondered why I was happy when I was in hospital and I think that was because, one I was alive, and two I still had my leg, which was a big thing.

After three weeks in hospital, Mr Hird continued his recovery from home, undergoing weekly physiotherapy sessions to learn to walk again, but had to rely on crutches for a full year.

He noted: ‘A lot of people worried I’d have nightmares about the cow, especially being underneath it.

Mr Hird met up with Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) paramedic Lee Salmon, who treated him on the day of the accident (Pictured: Charlie Hird on left, Lee Salmon on right)

Mr Hird wanted to thank the members of the GNAAS for helping him that day (Left to right: Paramedic Lee Salmon, Charlie Hird, Martin Keegan, Sue Wass and Dr John Ferris)

‘I didn’t blame the cow whatsoever because she was only protecting her calf… I still enjoy going walking now.

‘My advice to walkers would be to give cows a wide berth, just quietly and calmly walk through the fields.

‘If you’re walking through a field and you see the cows are on their own, say on the left, and you see a load of calves on the right, don’t walk between them.

‘The cows will go to protect the calves so you could get really badly injured.

‘I feel very lucky to be alive.’

Last month, Mr Hird met up with Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) paramedic Lee Salmon, who treated him, to thank him for his help.

He said: ‘I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I really wanted to come and see the helicopter, because I didn’t have a lot of memory of it, and also meet the people that rescued me that day.’

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