EVERGREEN, Colo. – Two Evergreen firefighters were called to a very unusual rescue. They pulled an elk from a frigid pond after the animal fell through the ice.
A couple called 911 after witnessing the elk walk on the ice then plunge in to the cold water. Evergreen Fire and Rescue showed up with human-sized rescue sleds and life jackets which were not much help.
A mature cow, female, can weigh over 500 pounds. Males weigh 660 to 780 pounds. They can measure 5 to 6.5 feet nose to tail, according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Rescuers used leverage and a pole to raise its front hooves out of the water. One person pulled on an ear to try to get the animal to the edge all while trying not to fall in themselves.
The crew literally lent helping hands to the elk, each grabbing a leg and pulling. The struggle almost appeared to be in slow motion as inch by inch of the four-legged creature slid out of the hole.
Wet fur and waterproof rescue gloves did not make the tug-of-war easy. At one point a firefighter lost grip and fell backwards. The other rescuer just hung on hoping not to lose ground and let the animal fall back in.
Finally, they pulled the stunned elk out of the enormous crack. The elk lay splayed out, possibly in shock for a while. Then the elk popped up onto 4 hooves and stared at the people that saved its life.
Fire and rescue reports that the elk didn't appear injured and later ambled back to terra firma.