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Published on Feb 28, 2013
A very clever helicopter pilot manages to rescue a deer stuck on the ice, by using the down-draft of the chopper to literally blow the animals out of danger.
When a deer and her fawn were trapped on the thin ice of a frozen harbour in Canada, rescue workers decided it was too risky to go out and help the stricken animal.
The mother was exhausted after hauling itself out of the freezing water of Antigonish Harbour in Nova Scotia after repeatedly crashing through the ice and could not even stand up on the treacherous surface.
Not wanting to leave the deer and its offspring to their fate, a skilled helicopter pilot hit on an ingenious solution - blow the deer to shore using the downdraft from his helicopter's rotors.
Ian Waugh, a retired biologist from Alberta, says he spotted the deer struggling on the ice last month and reported it to the Department for Natural Resources (DNR), which decided it was too risky to rescue the animal on foot.
'It caught my eye that the female was down on the ice and every time she tried to get up, she would fall back down and she was splayed out,' he said
A few hours later, Waugh spotted a DNR helicopter near the mother and the alarmed fawn ran to shore as the chopper descended. He was amazed by what happened next.
'The wash, because the ice was so smooth, the wash was so powerful that it actually started to push the deer,' says Waugh, who recorded the incredible rescue on camera.
At first the terrified animal struggled, but as it realised it was moving towards safety it stopped struggling and allowed itself to be blown along.
Once it hit dry land, a DNR officer and the pilot helped it to its feet and sent it on its way.
Waugh later saw the deer and her fawn reunited in the woods.
He said: 'It was just brilliant. It was a solution exactly tailored to the situation.