Three helicopter pilots in Russia's Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous district came to the rescue of a moose trapped in a frozen lake by tugging the 600-kilogram animal out using ropes and pulleys.
The dramatic 30-minute animal rescue took place in late February, but the heartwarming video was published on the regional news portal Ugra-news.ru this week .
The rescuers, employees of the Uralhelicom helicopter manufacturing company, happened to be flying overhead when they spotted the animal struggling below and decided to turn back to help it.
"Having noticed from above an unnatural hole in the ice, [the helicopter pilot] decided to get a closer look and steered the helicopter downward. From inside the hole, there was a head of an obviously large animal sticking out, apparently a moose. With difficulty, she turned her head to look at the helicopter, with that, showing that she was still alive. … The pilot, realizing that he couldn't just leave her to die, rushed to bring the helicopter back to the base for help, and to get ropes, cable ties and harnesses, " one of the rescuers told Ugra-news.ru.
After pulling the moose out, the men spent over an hour massaging it and trying to warm it up with jackets and blankets.
According to a note at the end of the video, the entire rescue mission took so long that the videocamera's battery ran out, forcing the rescuers to resort to photographs for the most touching moments — the moose looking at rescuers in a daze as they cover it with blankets and jackets, the three men cradling and hugging it.
The final photograph, apparently taken from the air as the rescuers flew away, shows the animal walking, seemingly fully recovered from the near-death experience.