Members of a crew working to restore power following Monday’s blast of wind and snow near Brooks found themselves tackling the unexpected task of rescuing three waterlogged calves on Wednesday.
“We were just putting the power onto an oilfield and a fellow lineman spotted (a calf) in the dugout,” said Taurean Kuglar, a lineman with FortisAlberta. “It was drowning. You can’t just sit there and let it drown.”
“We just grabbed the hand line, a rope, and went out there and put it around its neck and the four of us pulled it out.”
After saving the roughly 400 lb. animal, the crew, based out of Strathmore, soon discovered two more calves in the water. The team quickly rescued the other cows. “When you’ve got four guys pulling on it, it kind of makes small work of it.”
The workers believe the calves encountered hard packed snow that gave way while attempting to drink from the dugout and at least one of them had been in the water overnight.
“I think anybody else would do the same thing that we did in this situation,” said Bradey Wegener, an area coordinator with FortisAlberta. "You’re not going to just leave him there."
“We just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” added Kuglar. The workers spoke with an oilfield representative on site who happened to know the farmer who owned the cattle. “He contacted him and let him know that there were a couple calves stranded in the dugout,” said Wegener. “He sent out two farm hands, probably half an hour after the rescue had taken place, and they were quite grateful.”
One of the calf rescues was recorded and Kauger proudly shared the video with his six-year-old daughter. “She was pretty cool,” said Kauger.”Asked a lot of questions. Hopefully she’ll do the same if she ever comes across it.”
Wegener says he’s learned to take his job in stride. “We work in a lot of different areas, a lot of remote areas, across the province. You never know what you could be faced with.”
Plans are underway to fence off the dugout until conditions improve.