Baby moose trapped in a lake is saved by Alaska man and police as its worried mom watches

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man and two police officers rescued a baby moose from what police described as “a sure demise” after it fell into a lake and got stuck in a narrow space between a floatplane and a dock.

Spencer Warren, who works for the outdoor tourism company Destination Alaska Adventure Co., had arrived at work about 6:30 a.m. Friday to prepare a floatplane for the day's trip when he heard what he thought was an odd-sounding bird.

He quickly spotted the moose calf stuck between the floats of the plane and the dock at Beluga Lake in Homer, a Kenai Peninsula community about 220 miles (350 kilometers) south of Anchorage. The floats replace the wheels on a plane, allowing it to take off and land on water.

He immediately thought, “Oh, man, where is mama? I know she's nearby," before spotting the worried mother about 4 feet (1.2 meters) away with another calf. Mother moose can be dangerously protective of their calves — a photographer was killed by a mama moose protecting her young just last month in Homer.

The baby moose tried to get out of the lake, but couldn't get its footing on the top of the metal float with its hooves. Its wary mother was keeping Warren, the would-be rescuer, from getting too close as it struggled.

“It's like an ice rink for the moose and its hooves,” Warren said of Friday's rescue. “So he just kept slipping and slipping and could not get up.”

Warren checked in with his boss, who called Homer police.

One officer eventually positioned his police cruiser between the mama moose and the floatplane to allow another officer and Warren to rescue the calf, Homer Police Lt. Ryan Browning told The Associated Press.

The calf had one leg outstretched across the top of the plane's float, where it was stuck.

“You know, kind of thankfully, he wasn’t moving so that it made the rescue a little bit easier," Warren said. “We just lifted him straight out and, put him on the dock there.”

The exhausted calf splayed out on the boardwalk until an officer helped it stand. The calf reunited with its mother and she licked the water off its body — all of it caught on camera by Warren.

“Anytime you can rescue a little critter, it always makes you feel good," Browning said.