By Aidan Gardiner
COLUMBUS CIRCLE — A horse-drawn carriage lost control and flipped onto its side in the middle of Columbus Circle traffic Thursday morning, witnesses said.
The carriage was riding northbound on Eighth Avenue near West 58th Street about 10:15 a.m. when it lost control and collided with parked cars on the west side of the street and flipped onto its right side, pinning the horse, witnesses and the FDNY said.
"It looked like the driver was having a fit. He was screaming. He couldn't control the horse," said Garth Burton, 48, a pedicab driver who watched the crash unfold.
"[He] grabbed the horse by the head. The horse was trying to get out. He was on his legs," Burton said.
A witness' video posted on Instagram shows the horse stumbling and trying rise as firefighters surrounded it.
Burton said he and another good Samaritan lifted the white carriage, adorned with flowers and American flags, off of the struggling horse, eventually freeing it by slicing off its harness.
"The horse was kicking and flipping out. It fell back down a second time. it looked like it was going to keel over. We started cutting the harness [and] everyone started applauding."
Witnesses said the driver was questioned and released by police, and he led the horse away down Eighth Avenue.
Police said the NYPD mounted unit escorted the animal back to the stable, where they determined it was in good condition.
Chanelle Futrell, 31, a witness, said she saw what appeared to be minor injuries to the horse.
"The horse had an indentation on its right thighs. It was the size of a basketball," said Futrell, a dogwalker from Harlem, "Its eyes were wide open. It wasn't making any noise. The horse looked surprisingly calm," Futrell said.
Advocates seized on the incident as part of their push to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of New York.
"It demonstrates yet another reason why we need to get horse carriages off the streets of New York City," said Allie Feldman, executive director of NYCLASS.