FLASH floods led to th deaths of around 26 horses when the Guadalhorce River burst its banks, claimed eyewitnesses.
Rescue teams were unable to access the stables in the Santa Amaria area saving only 18 out of the 44 horses living there. Struggling to find the owner, police were forced to kick down the doors but the horses had already died.
A shocking scene unfolded as drowned horses were washed onto nearby roads and fields.
Eyewitness Kati Froehlich, 39, a German horsetrader, who lives in Alhaurin, said: “It was terrible, chaotic with dead horses strewn around the place everywhere.
“I counted 26 dead bodies at least.”
In better news there was a daring helicopter rescue carried out at the Rancho del Rio trekking and pony club in nearby Cartama where dozens more horses were in danger.
One of the rescuers Michelle Fettrol, 44, said: “As I arrived I began wading in but was stopped by the Guardia Civil who wanted to arrest me for trying to endanger my life.
“It was awful to stand and just wait helplessly not knowing what was happening to the animals,” she said.
Eventually she was able to get hold of a firecrew, who flew in a helicopter.
“We flew off and searched for the horses, who were already chest-high in water,” continued Fettrol, who runs furniture company Designs of Asia. “We finally managed to tie them together and rode them to safety through the river.”
Meanwhile seven stranded residents were air-lifted from their flooded homes in Alhaurin and Cartama.