DULUTH, Minn. - Firefighters in Minnesota released dramatic video of crews saving a frightened dog from the 8-foot waves of Lake Superior.
The Duluth Fire Department said on December 7, crews were dispatched in reference to a dog who had escaped from his leash and jumped into the water near the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.
Meanwhile, Saint Louis County dispatchers used cameras from the lift bridge to help locate the people who called 911.
The dog's owners told first responders where to find the dog, who was struggling to stay afloat on the 8-foot-plus waves in the middle of the ship canal.
Crews put on specially-designed suits to work in the extreme cold water and ice of Lake Superior.
A dog had to be rescued after jumping into the freezing Lake Superior. (Credit: Duluth Fire Department)
They fought their way through the water but had trouble seeing the dog because of the large waves and limited light. The dog was also dark and kept slipping below the surface, making him difficult to find.
Crews back on the piers used portable lights and shouted directions to help the crew in the water find the dog.
They were able to get a hold of the dog by his collar but couldn't do much more against the heavy waves. The dog was also large, scared and struggling, making the rescue even more difficult.
Eventually, crews were able to get the exhausted dog on the rescue boat and get him reunited with his owners. He was also treated for exposure.
Authorities said the dog stopped shivering and eventually showed signs of improvement.
"The Duluth Fire Department understands how important pets are to their families," the department posted on its Facebook page, "We have learned in the fire service that if we do not respond to help in these situations that bystanders and owners likely will take action on their own. Without the proper training and equipment this most often results in the firefighters now responding to a call for a person in harm’s way."
Bystanders had even told dispatchers that one person threatened to jump in the water after the dog but was convinced not to do it.
"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," the department added.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.