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Moose rescued after falling through ice

April 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
It took three hours and a whole lot of ingenuity, but rescue crews managed to save a moose that fell through the ice on a lake in Spokane, Wash., Tuesday morning.The 911 call came into the fire department just before 9 a.m. Someone had spotted the moose struggling in the partially frozen lake 200 yards from shore. By the time rescuers arrived, the moose was in serious trouble.

"When he first went in, he was getting out up to his chest and falling back in," said Spokane County Deputy Wade Nelson. "But when we got out there, he was so tired he could barely keep his head out of the water."

Members of the fire department and the water rescue team rigged up a makeshift pully system.

"We got a rope around his chest, got a 3 to 1 system out on the ice with ice anchors," said Nelson.

The soft ice made it precarious work for the rescuers. After nearly three hours, they pulled the exhausted moose back to shore.

"When we first pulled him out, he couldn't even move," said Wade. "He was taking a breath every 30 to 40 seconds. Now, he's getting some life back into him. So, I think he's gonna make it."

Rescue team members say they have pulled a lot of people from lakes and rivers, but this was their first time saving a moose.