Calf stranded on ice rescued by farmer, deputy

Posted at 8:20 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 23:37:14-05

A little brown calf named Chewbacca was only 3 days old when he had a near-death experience at a farm near Hope, Indiana.

This past Wednesday, the young calf somehow squeezed his way through a fence, walked onto an icy pond and got stranded on thin ice about 40 feet away from land, according to Kevin Mahoney, who owns Chewbacca.

"My biggest concern was the ice could break," Mahoney, 53, told ABC News today. "You don't want to ever see anything drown for any reason. I also concerned the calf might get hypothermia. It was freezing on that ice."

Chewbacca's mother began "mooing and making calls of distress," he said. The farmer added that he immediately called for help and tried to pull in 70-pound Chewbacca with a rope but "the rope was too short."

Luckily, Detective Capt. Chris Rogers with the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Office soon arrived with a 300-foot long rope.

Rogers was able to "scoot the calf across the ice," Mahoney said. He added that his wife, Angela Mahoney, caught the entire rescue on cellphone video.

But the stressful ordeal wasn't over just yet.

Chewbacca's body temperature had gotten dangerously low, so Mahoney raced the little calf to a heated basement to warm up, he said.

"Once we let him back out, his momma immediately jumped over the fence to be near him," Mahoney said. "He started nursing right away, and the two are just like normal cows now. He's doing great."

The farmer added that Chewbacca has "a special place" in the family and that the cow "will live out the rest of his life happily on the farm."