Duluth Minnesota Fire Department (DFD) immediately responded to a call about a dog who escaped his leash and jumped into the icy waters of Lake Superior near Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.
The dog quickly found himself struggling to stay above the 8-foot waves as his terrified owner called out to him. Firefighters knew the general area the dog was in but needed help pinpointing the exact location.
“Saint Louis County Dispatchers were able to use cameras on the lift bridge being controlled by the bridge operator to help locate the call,” shared the fire department.
The sunlight was fading, and it was getting difficult to see the dark-colored dog. Firefighters entered the frigid water in their protective ice rescue suits to save the dog.
However, it was a difficult task due to the massive waves and lack of light.
DFD recalls, “The dog was also dark in color and kept slipping below the surface making him difficult to find. DFD personnel on the pier along with the dog’s owner used portable lights and shouted directions to the crew to help locate the dog.”
The firefighters finally managed to grab the dog by his collar to keep him from going under water again but were being swept further down the bay. Additional crew members arrived in a 14-foot inflatable rescue boat just in time.
They managed to battle the waves and get everyone, including the dog, safely into the boat and back to land.
The exhausted dog was reunited with his owner and on the drive back their vehicle he started to regain his strength.
“He had stopped shivering, was able to walk on his own and was waging his tail as he jumped into his owner’s car,” shared DFD.
The heroes understand that dogs are members of the family and that is why they are willing to risk their lives to save them. They also urge people not to go in after their dogs if they do happen to fall or jump in a lake. Firefighters are specially trained for these types of rescues and have the proper equipment to get everyone out safely.
“The Duluth Fire Department wants to stress to the public the importance of not putting yourself into a situation you are neither trained nor equipped to handle. This will not only put you at risk but the emergency responders as well. It will also greatly limit the options we have to try to save your pet as all efforts will now be directed at saving you. Given the wave and temperature conditions in the canal last night, anyone entering the water without the proper training and equipment would most likely have ended in tragedy.”
Thankfully, this story had a happy ending. Check out the rescue video below.
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