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News / Nation & World

Rush hour chaos in London as 5 military horses run amok after getting spooked during exercise

By PAN PYLAS, Associated Press
Published: April 24, 2024, 8:14am
3 Photos
A white horse on the loose bolts through the streets of London near Aldwych, on Wednesday April 24, 2024.
A white horse on the loose bolts through the streets of London near Aldwych, on Wednesday April 24, 2024. (Jordan Pettitt/PA via AP) Photo Gallery

LONDON (AP) — Five military horses spooked by noise from a nearby building site bolted during routine exercises on Wednesday near Buckingham Palace, unseating four riders and causing chaos as they galloped loose through central London streets and collided with vehicles during the busy morning rush hour.

It is believed the chaos erupted when the horses from the Household Cavalry, which were conducting an extended exercise for an upcoming military parade, became alarmed by the sound of concrete falling off a moving walkway at a construction site in Belgravia, a swanky neighborhood just to the west of the palace.

Five of the seven horses ran off with four soldiers thrown off. Three of them were hospitalized with injuries.

The riderless horses then ran through main roads in central London, hitting vehicles and stunning commuters as they headed to work. The horses were all captured shortly after and are undergoing medical tests.

Witnesses saw one of the loose animals crashing into a taxi waiting outside the Clermont Hotel nearby, shattering windows. Another of the animals crashed into a tour bus, smashing the windshield.

Pictures and videos shared widely across social media showed two of the horses — one white, one black — running at speed down Aldwych, in between London’s historic financial center and the busy West End theater district.

The white horse’s face and legs were soaked in blood. A British Army spokesperson was not able to confirm what caused the injury.

Megan Morra, who was on her way to work, told the BBC that she saw the striking image of the white horse with a head injury.

“There was a lot of blood,” she said. “I was a bit distressed to be honest, looking at the poor horse.”

The horses are from the Household Cavalry, the ceremonial guard of the monarch and a regular feature of state functions in London.

“All of the horses have now been recovered and returned to camp,” an army spokesperson said. “A number of personnel and horses have been injured and are receiving the appropriate medical attention.”

The London Ambulance Service said it treated four people across three separate incidents in the space of 10 minutes after the horses ran amok around 8:30 a.m.

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