A donkey was forced to parachute over a beach in Russia as part of a misguided marketing stunt.

Beach goers were horrified to see the animal hoisted high into the sky, screaming in fear as it flew over a beach in the Cossack village of Golubitskaya last week.

The regional police said the donkey ended up in the skies as a result of an advertising campaign to attract holidaymakers to a private beach.

“The donkey screamed and children cried,” said a police spokesperson. “No one had the brains to call police.”

On landing, the donkey was dragged several metres along the water before being pulled out half-alive.

A spokesperson for animal welfare charity The Brooke said:

“This animal would have been extremely distressed, suffering immeasurable fear and pain. This should never have happened.”

The Brooke is dedicated to alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys and mules working in the poorest parts of the world, and improving the lives of the people who depend on them. Get more info at thebrooke.org