Two cows managed to keep afloat for an hour inside a water tank yesterday before emergency officers rescued them.

The cows got into their predicament after walking on top of a water tank in Ormond, north of Gisborne, which collapsed under their weight.

New Zealand Fire and Emergency attended and officers had to bash a hole in the side of the concrete tank with sledgehammers to drain it and get the cows out.

Officers who attended the scene said the cows appeared to be 18 months old and weigh 450kg each.

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Senior station officer Bernie Bull said the tank was built into the side of a hill and it appeared the cows had simply walked on top of it before it collapsed.

"It is the first time I have heard of that happening," he said.

Aside from being a little out of breath the cows were unharmed.

- Gisborne Herald