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Swan rescued from frozen lake in Spotsylvania

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A young swan, frozen in ice on a lake, was rescued by emergency personnel in Spotsylvania County.

Animal Control deputies were called to a neighborhood lake, behind residences in the 8600 block of Lee Jackson Circle, around 7:50 a.m. Tuesday for reports of a swam frozen in a lake.

According to Capt. Jeff Pearce of the Spotsylvania County Sherifff’s Office, citizens had called 911 to report that the swan had been sitting on the lake all night and was close to death when discovered in the morning.

Upon their arrival, animal control deputies attempted to free the swan by clapping their hands and whistling at the large bird, which Pearce said is commonly done to arouse the creature’s natural defense mechanism and cause it to move.

But the bird did not respond to their attempts, he said.

The deputies tested the ice around the edge of the lake and found it was not safe to approach without additional resources and equipment, so they called for assistance from fire and rescue personnel, Pearce said.

Spotsylvania fire and rescue units responded to the location and worked with the animal control deputies to operate a “banana rig” floatation device with safety ropes and harness.

“Working together, the rescue personnel were able to traverse the thin ice and get close enough to note that the adolescent swan was conscious,” Pearce said. “However, it was frozen to the ice sheet, covering the water’s surface.”

Rescue units used a low-powered water cannon to shoot a stream of warmer water under the swan, which freed it from the frozen surface, he said. The swan was then able to free itself and moved away from the frozen area.

Pearce said the bird was observed for several minutes and it was determined the bird would be fine.

“Though the swan was not able to say thanks, it did give a glance back to the rescue crew as it wandered off to continue its daily activities,” Pearce said.

Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris said this is what public service is all about.

“This may not have been the capture of major violent criminals, however, it’s still very rewarding, when we work together, providing all citizens–and swans– our best efforts.”