Gull 'Zip Lined' to Safety After Getting Hooked on Wire in Northern England

A gull caught upside-down on a utility wire was rescued in Sunderland, England, on April 30 by a creative fire crew, who used a throw line to pull the bird to a pole and then lift it down to safety, officials said.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service crew responded to the scene, which unfolded at a parking lot on Ashbrooke Crescent.

According to an RSPCA statement emailed to Storyful, the gull became suspended upside-down when a fishing hook that had pierced one of its feet got snagged on the wire midflight, leaving the bird hanging by his foot about 30 feet (9 meters) above the ground.

Firefighters latched a throw line to the stricken bird and, using it like a zip line, dragged the bird along the wire toward a pole, where it could be reached by members of the crew, the statement said.

Local RSPCA inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws said the gull’s “zip wire ride to safety” was “one of the most bizarre rescues” she had seen.

The bird was examined by veterinarians, who removed the fishing hook, which left behind a minor wound. It was recovering at Pawz for Thought, a local animal rescue charity, but was expected to be released quickly back into the wild, the RSPCA said. Credit: RSPCA via Storyful

Video transcript

- --where he is now?

- We don't know. I got that. I don't know.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Come on down. [INAUDIBLE].

- Like that. And I'll hook you.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Look at this dum-dum.

- Yeah, [INAUDIBLE] just want to get-- I don't know, nothing to do.

[SEAGULL SCREECHING]

- So that we can climb up that ladder. We can save the bird. [INAUDIBLE], isn't it?

- Deceptively taller this way. [INAUDIBLE].

- There you go.

- Yeah, yeah. [INAUDIBLE]. Can I have a [? look? ?] Hello, [INAUDIBLE].

- All right. Come on. You want to get on this ladder.

- You've lost.

- Do it like that.

- All you got to do is grab the [INAUDIBLE] itself [INAUDIBLE].

[SEAGULL SQUAWKS]

[LAUGHS]

- There, just grab, grab the hook as well. Just grab the hook. See if you can lift it off.

- Don't drop him.

- Are you off, right?

- Just [INAUDIBLE]--

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