Owatonna firefighter rescues deer trapped in icy water

A firefighter in southern Minnesota rescued a deer struggling to stay above water after falling through thin ice. 

The Owatonna Fire Department said in a Facebook post on Feb. 8 that they assisted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with rescuing a deer that fell through ice. 

The deer was struggling to keep afloat in the frigid water, and a firefighter, equipped in a rescue suit, ventured out to help. He waded through chest-high water, reached the deer, and carefully lifted it onto the ice.

The firefighter said the deer seemed uninjured but appeared cold. The deer tried to stand up but fell and struggled to slowly inch toward the shore while lying flat on the ice. 

After debating what to do, the firefighter exited the water, crawled toward the deer, and gently pushed it closer to shore. While the video ends with the deer still on the ice, the fire department said it eventually went safely back into the wild. 

The Minnesota DNR has repeatedly warned of unsafe ice conditions, and several agencies have had to make ice rescues this winter, given the unusually warm temperatures. The fire department explained how using a rescue suit at lower temperatures is helpful in scenarios like this. 

"This suit is completely waterproof with a watertight hood, gloves, and attached boots. The insulation and buoyancy of the suit allows us to maintain mental and physical capabilities for long periods of time in icy cold water," the fire department wrote on Facebook. 

To learn more about ice safety, visit the DNR’s website here