A moose unlucky enough to plunge through a frozen lake was at least fortunate enough to have some humans nearby to help haul him out.
The two-year-old bull broke through ice on the appropriately-named Frozen Loon Lake in Spokane, Washington in 2008, leaving only the moose’s head visible to those onshore. This video from KXLY 4 captures the vigilant effort by emergency responders to save him before he froze to death.
After notified of the moose’s plight, members from Fish & Wildlife and the Spokane County Fire District Nine teamed up to retrieve the helpless animal. Pushing boats out onto the frozen lake, the rescuers chipped away at the ice with sledgehammers and chainsaws.
More than the moose’s life was at stake in the rescue attempt. The wildlife officials and firefighters were careful to cut as small of an opening as possible for the moose, hoping to prevent a collapse that would cause them to join the moose in the frigid waters.
Despite the commotion during the two-hour rescue, the bull seemed to be relatively relaxed. After finally clearing a large enough hole in the ice, the rescuers were able to urge the moose to pull himself out. Finally free, he took a moment to shake the cold water off his coat and eye his rescuers, who gave him plenty of space.
Despite his lengthy stay in the cold water and his hard scrabble to the surface, the moose seems to have been unharmed. But the ordeal likely left the thousand-pound bull with a valuable and lasting lesson to steer clear of thin ice come next winter.