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Duane dives down drain to rescue ducks

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An off-duty City of Hamilton employee swung into action to rescue a family of ducklings trapped in a storm drain.

Duane Crockwell, 56, came to the aid of the brood of seven baby ducks that had fallen into a drain at the side of a city street.

For the general superintendent at the corporation, the crisis was business as usual.

Mr Crockwell explained: “In the city, I've had to get cats that might be stuck in one of our buildings.

“I've also had animals come to my house that turn out to be missing and I go to return them.

“It seems to happen to me regularly — I'm always getting involved in some animal rescue.”

Mr Crockwell, from Pembroke, was driving home after doing some grocery shopping last Friday when he saw a woman wave for help while he was stopped at a traffic light on Dundonald Street.

The woman led him to a storm drain just outside Mount Saint Agnes Academy. He saw the ducklings stuck inside.

Mr Crockwell explained: “The lady said that she was out running and she happened to see the mother duck over the hole.

“All seven of her brood were in this hole and she was quacking and trying to get them to come out.

“I don't know how they were in there.”

He added: “I happened to see this lady standing in the road on her cell phone and she was trying to call the city.

“She just happened to see ‘Corporation of Hamilton' on my company van.”

Mr Crockwell had the tools needed to remove the cover of the storm drain in the van.

Once he had a clear view of the ducklings, he was able to lift them out one by one.

Mr Crockwell said: “I could see the little chicks jumping in the grate trying to get out but they couldn't.

“Some had given up jumping and were just laying at the bottom of the drain.”

He added: “The mother duck was just on the sidewalk quacking and frantically pacing up and down the kerb.

“At first she avoided me and just kept pacing, but she kind of settled down once she saw her little ducklings coming out to greet her.”

Mr Crockwell said that the rescue took about 15 minutes.

He added that it was just luck that he had passed by the scene. Mr Crockwell said: “I took the van and it just happened to have tools in it.

“I wasn't initially going to take the van — I was considering taking my car, but I took the van instead, so I'd be less likely to be stopped by the police.”

He added: “I was considering which way I should go through the city — I was going to go along Front Street, but I just felt led to go through Dundonald Street.

“It's almost like God had wanted me to go that way.”

Slipping between the quacks: Duane Crockwell pulls the stranded ducklings from the drain in Dundonald Street and reunites them with their mother (Photograph supplied)
A happy reunion: a mother duck reunited with her seven ducklings after they were all trapped in a storm drain (Photograph supplied)
Duane Crockwell, a general superintendent at the Corporation of Hamilton. (Photograph supplied)

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Published April 20, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 20, 2020 at 4:13 pm)

Duane dives down drain to rescue ducks

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