Winnipeg river rescue crews save cat from ice flow, call for caution

Winnipeg firefighters successfully rescued a cat from an ice floe Thursday. United Firefighters of Winnipeg/Twitter

A Winnipeg cat was rescued off an ice floe Wednesday after it became stranded on the river.

Bystanders saw the feline and called 911, prompting fire crews to successfully complete a water rescue.

“We had a number of calls that this cat was trapped on an ice floe on the river,” United Firefighters of Winnipeg president Alex Forrest said.

“We were able to talk all the bystanders into not going out into the river or trying to save the cat, so we dispatched our fire department water rescue teams and … we were able to grab the cat and bring the cat successfully back.”

Winnipeg fire crews rescued a cat from the river yesterday. United Firefighters of Winnipeg/Twitter

“I just want to remind the public just how dangerous our rivers are,” Forrest said.

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“We have a tremendous amount of river system within the city of Winnipeg, and especially with the temperatures fluctuating, it may appear that there’s ice on the river, but it’s dangerously thin.”

He said they tend to get a lot of calls about animals and humans stuck out on ice floes at this time of year, and noted the best thing to do if a person or pet is trapped on the river is to contact the fire department.

Winnipeg fire crews rescued a cat from the river yesterday. United Firefighters of Winnipeg/Twitter

The water rescue crew has kayaks that “walk across the ice” along with special suits to keep firefighters warm in the event they take a tumble into the water.

“The animals are as important as the human beings, because if the fire department did not respond to these animals, what would happen is people would take it into their own hands,” Forrest continued. “They would go out there, and instead of rescuing a small cat, we would be rescuing one or a number of individuals who were trying to rescue the cat.”

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The cat was taken to the Winnipeg Humane Society. Initial reports suggested the cat had been reunited with its owners, but firefighters have since said the animal is in care at the shelter.

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