A firefighter from a specialized rescue team was lowered into an underground pipe Tuesday afternoon to save the young life of the cutest accident victim ever: a duckling that fell through a storm grate.
The rescue unfolded on Flamingo Road near Palos Verdes Street, just east of Paradise Road and only steps away from Clark County Fire Department headquarters.
According to fire officials, it all began when three women visiting Las Vegas from Nashville, Tenn., were walking along Flamingo and saw a mother duck leading two ducklings along the curb. As the waterfowl crossed the storm drain, the ducklings fell through the grate.
The women rushed to the nearby Fire Department office to report what they had seen, and the rescue was on.
The department initially sent two units to the scene but quickly determined that specialized help was needed.
The call went out to members of the Confined Space Rescue Team at Las Vegas Fire and Rescue station 44, who had already spent the day sweating in the dirt as they practiced collapsed-trench rescues.
The team set up a tripod and harness system and lowered a rescuer in full protective gear 15 feet down into the main storm drain, but he could only find and capture one of the baby ducks.
The duckling was taken to Paradise Pet Hospital to be checked out. It will eventually land at the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary, fire officials said.
It’s unclear what happened to the other duckling, though it could have found its own way to safety. The drain runs underground for about a quarter of a mile to the east, where it surfaces at Swenson Street. There was no word on the cost of the rescue or who might get stuck with the bill.
Contact Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350. Find him on Twitter: @RefriedBrean.