A RUNAWAY Llama who escaped its enclosures under the cover of darkness has been winched to safety after falling into an underground reservoir.

Escapee Skippy ended up in almost two metres of water after falling through the roof of a nearby reservoir off Adsdean Park Road near Funtington.

Water rescue-trained firefighters from Bognor Regis and the service’s Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) were mobilised shortly after 5pm on Tuesday evening to rescue the llama.

Crews were supported by a Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service crew from Havant and a local vet who oversaw the rescue.

Carrying out the operation, they used a short extension ladder to reach the point in the reservoir’s roof where Skippy had fallen through, and carefully began removing some of the surrounding roofing to allow more space to carry out the rescue.

TRU watch manager Mick Lewin described the rescue as "challenging" as crews worked in the dark to free the animal.

He said: “This was quite a challenging rescue to carry out, as not only did we have an animal that was quite distressed, but also in a dark, enclosed space under several feet of water.

“Our main priority was to try and calm Skippy down and prevent him from causing any injury to himself or to our teams while trying to rescue him.

"Once we had stabilised him in the water we were able to lift him back on to dry land where he was given a through check-over by the vet.

“Skippy’s owner did the right thing in calling for help rather than trying to carry out the rescue themselves, which could have led to them ending up in danger themselves.

“Fortunately Skippy has made a full recovery after his ordeal, and we hope he will be less inclined to go exploring after dark.”