Quacking good day for nine ducklings

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UCKFIELD firefighters are famous for never ducking out of a difficult job. Their services were summoned last week when a mother duck and her ducklings found themselves unable to escape from a massive lagoon with steep concrete sides.

The incident hit the logbooks when Whitesmith composting unit operators Veolia called emergency services to plead for help after the duck and her nine babies fell 15 feet into the lagoon.

Six stalwart crew members came to their aid and the rescue was soon underway - no avoiding complex rescues for these firefighters!

The duck had nested on the edge of the lagoon reservoir and after hatching the ducklings fell down a steep slope into the water. They were rapidly followed by the mother duck who wanted to protect her young but the youngsters were unable to get out due to the high sided embankment. The ducklings became stressed and tired quickly. 

The RSPCA were called to help, but due to the task involved in removing them safely they felt this was a job for the Fire and Rescue Service, who were called to assist.

Uckfield crews arrived promptly and swiftly plucked the duck and her ducklings from the lagoon onto a life raft. They hauled the raft up the up the steep embankment and placed into a neighbouring pond which Veolia had provided to protect great green crested newts when the plant was first constructed.

The duck’s nest has also been moved to the pond and both duck and ducklings are now safe and out of harm’s way.

Veolia spokesman Allan Key said: “We are pleased that the duck and all her ducklings made it out of the lagoon unharmed. They are now safe in their new home away from any dangers. Our thanks go out to the RSPCA and the fire and rescue teams for their swift response.”

Veolia Environmental Services South Downs has a 30 year contract for the delivery of an integrated waste management service across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.  Working in partnership with both East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council, it is committed to providing a sustainable approach to managing the area’s household waste.