Deer falls into icy waters in Willow Springs

December 9, 2013 (WILLOW SPRINGS, Ill.)

The deer was swimming in a partially frozen river in Columbia Woods in Willow Springs on Monday morning for quite some time as animal rescue crews entered the water in suits and swam near the animals, trying to get a rope around its antlers.

"I see this deer that is partially submerged...the only thing that was sticking out was his head," Officer Robert Jennings, Willow Springs Police Department, said.

"We had to use our body weight to break the ice, because we couldn't touch the bottom. The current kept taking us, because the suits are real buoyant. So we broke a channel out to him. We got out about half way, and he turned around to where he was," Steve Vogel said.

The exhausted deer eventually gave up and rescuers finally got the rope around the deer's antlers and pulled it to the shore.

"We weren't afraid of him fighting us anymore, kicking us. So I just kind of put a rope around his antlers. Guys started pulling him in, and I tried to keep his head above water, best that I could," Vogel said.

Eight men then helped carry the deer to an Animal Welfare League van. According to a Animal Welfare League statement, "Deer still had a faint heartbeat during police escorted transport but as soon as they arrived at shelter, they lost a pulse."

Veterinarians tried to revive the animal, but, according to the statement, "Hypothermia had set in and we were unable to save him."

"A deer that size could handle how cold the weather was, but he was totally exhausted," Linda Estrada, Animal Welfare League, said. "When we were trying to put the IV, even his veins had ice."

"We're all kind of down, we're sad," Det. Mike Flamburis, Willow Springs Police Department, said. "Being an animal lover, you know I was praying that the deer would survive."

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