Nova Scotia’s Antigonish Harbor hosted a strange scene last month when a doe and her fawn found themselves trapped on the frozen water, but that’s not the weird part. In comes David Farrell, a 25-year veteran helicopter pilot. With no other options, Farrell decided to use the downdraft from his helicopter blades to push the deer back to shore.
The video below was taken by biologist Ian Waugh, who first noticed the pair of animals out on the ice.
“The female was down on the ice and every time she tried to get up she would fall back down,” Waugh told CTV News. “She was splayed out.”
He quickly informed the Department of Natural Resources and it was determined that the ice was too thin for any kind of standard rescue procedure. It was at this point the DNR helicopter piloted by Farrell arrived at the scene. The fawn ran off to safety while the mother, weakened by plunges in the icy water, stayed where she was.
That’s when Farrell had his brilliant idea: to use the “power” of his chopper.
“It looked do-able, there was a clear path with the glazed ice,” he said. “These machines are fairly light so you’d have to get fairly close. Within four feet.”
As the helicopter pushed the doe back to land it seemed to calm down.
“I don’t know if it understands we’re trying to help, I don’t know what goes through its mind. It works good.”
DNR officers waiting at the edge of the harbor were able to help the doe ashore. The animal was released soon after to join the fawn waiting nearby.