Ducklings and drains – that annual spring fire callout

Thanks to some quick thinking, two ducklings lived to swim another day. Photo: Getty Images
Thanks to some quick thinking, two ducklings lived to swim another day. Photo: Getty Images
It’s duckling season in Canterbury and sometimes the young waterfowl unfortunately get stuck in drains. But Susan Sandys reports on a very happy outcome for one family.

Meeghan Coetzee.
Meeghan Coetzee.
A distressed mother duck was reunited with her four ducklings, thanks to the efforts of a school teacher and a volunteer fire brigade.

Meeghan Coetzee was on her way home from Ararira Springs Primary School in Lincoln she saw a mallard duck and two ducklings walking up and down near a stormwater grate in Lincoln.

Then about five minutes later, as she drove past again, Coetzee stopped and got out of her car after noticing the two ducklings were missing and the mother duck was distressed.

Coetzee peered down through the grate to see four ducklings trapped. They seemed safe, swimming in water, but the mother was far from happy.

“She was jumping on the drain, her poor little feet were slipping through the drain, she was quite desperate to get to them,” Coetzee said.

She phoned the Lincoln fire station and left a voice message.

Fire chief Jeremy Greenwood got back to her within five minutes to say a firefighter was on the way.

She said it was fantastic to have a happy ending to the saga.

The firefighter, who arrived in his own car, lifted the grate and scooped the ducklings out.

“It was awesome, I was so glad to see them come out,” Coetzee said.

Jeremy Greenwood.
Jeremy Greenwood.
Greenwood said the brigade responded to about two incidents each year of rescuing ducklings from stormwater drains, but was not always successful.

“We respond and help where we can, it’s just a bit of community service I guess,” he said.

The fire engine would turn out to such callouts if the call came through the 111 communications centre.

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