SUN VALLEY (CBSLA) – Firefighters had to use a helicopter to hoist a 30-year-old horse to safety after he fell down a hillside in Sunland Friday morning.

Aug. 9, 2019. (CBS2)

The 800-to-900-pound male thoroughbred named Sonny became trapped about 30 feet down an embankment at around 6:40 a.m. on a private property in the 11300 block of North Oro Vista Avenue, the Los Angeles Fire Department reports.

Neighbors told CBS2 that Sonny got stuck along a fence on his owner’s property at around 3 a.m. When neighbors tried to cut the fence, he went tumbling down, ending up on his side.

After unsuccessfully trying to get him upright, firefighters called in a helicopter for a hoist operation. The horse was sedated, and a little after 10 a.m., the helicopter lifted Sonny up and off the hillside using a rope system. Crews had to place special equipment on the horse to help hoist him up.

“It was very challenging because of the location,” said Armando Navarrete with the L.A. Animal Services Mobile Animal Rescue Team. “We haven’t had anything this difficult, because usually we can get him up with a tripod or we can glide him up with a special large animal glide.”

Sonny was taken to his corral and was being given fluid to hydrate him. L.A. Animal Services officials told CBS2 he appeared to have suffered no serious injuries, although a veterinarian was conducting a medical evaluation.

“Just some minor scratches and cuts is what you can see at this point, nothing significant,” LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said. “However, it’s obvious the horse is unable to get up, even with an abundance of people assisting and pushing. And so we don’t know the extent of the injuries.”

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