were several of us walking around with a broom and a shovel. I’ve
got to say this, but the police weren’t very helpful at the time
because they were stopping you from going into places...I think
they were worried security-wise. I think that’s what a lot of it
"The pig sty was up near the level crossing, going down Walton
Avenue. I can’t remember his name, but he had pigs in stys and the
stys were made of corrugated iron but it wasn’t that real heavy
corrugated iron, it was the lighter stuff.
"He said: 'For God’s sake Bert, can you give me a hand, I’ve
got to get these pigs out of the sty.'
"But when I got to them, oh what a sight...the
pigs had attempted to get out through the corrugated iron by catching
hold of one bit of it in their mouth and then twisting it to tear
it. Then twisting it again, and the bit they had already twisted
was already, in their mouth. So they would make another grip and
so on and so on.
"So they had huge rolls of corrugated iron in their mouths
and of course they were all either suffocated or drowned. It was
a terrible sight, a wicked sight.
"When we got to the sty it was a mass of red, because a lot
of them had just bled to death. I can still see it now if I shut
my eyes I can still the scene at the time.
"There was all sorts of things floating round there. It was
one of the last places for the water to go from because Walton Avenue
is very low.
"There was ponies floating about, there was pigs, there was
hundreds and hundreds of chickens just floating about in the water.
There was timber and sheds floating about and of course all the
temporary homes, prefabs, were just floating around.
"When we first got there, there were prefabs floating down
Langer Road. If you haven’t seen it you can’t really imagine it.
You can think about it but you can’t see it, not the way I see it
"Although it was all that time ago I can remember some parts
of it vividly, like getting hold of a chicken that wasn’t quite
dead and shaking them out to see if you can get the water out. Some
of them we did.
"You know like you shake a milk bottle to get the water out,
we were shaking the chickens like that and some of them actually
survived. Because once they could feel their feet then they could
scrabble about and find somewhere to sit, with their head bowed.
"The smell was like a sewage smell, it was a cross between
a sewage smell and salt water. It was a horrible smell. When you
were walking you had to put one foot down and then had to look to
see where you were going to put the other foot just in case you
either stepped on something or the slime took your feet away."
to eye witness index »