Godfrey, IL (KSDK) -- The deer that have been stranded on ice in the Mississippi River have been rescued. Unfortunatety, the older deer is not doing too well several hours after being pulled to safety.
A helicopter belonging to a private company, Helicopters Inc., was used to blow the deer to safety. The pilot, Bill Houska, was recently been promoted to chief pilot for the company.
The helicopter unexpectedly arrived over the deer and hovered above them. It took about five to ten minutes for the first deer to be blown to shore.
The second deer was unable to move, even with the help of the helicopter. Two men, one of them a member of the Alton Ski Club wearing his skis, went onto the ice with a rope to help. They used the rope to drag the animal to shore. They picked up the deer and took it across the Great River Road to the woods. The deer was unable to get up and a group of people could be seen caring for it.
Deer rescued - PHOTOS HERE
That second, larger deer, likely the mother, stayed right where they put the animal down. Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials were trying to locate a deer "re-habber" to help the animal recover.
Also, just as NewsChannel Five's Ryan Dean was getting ready to do a live report at noon, another deer had ventured out onto the ice. That one made it across the river.
The deer were first spotted trapped on an ice floe in the Mississippi near Stanka Lane in Godfrey Wednesday. Drivers had been slowing to look and hoping someone would help. Godfrey is located about 26 miles northeast of St. Louis.
The deer were about a quarter mile from shore and too far out to be easily reached.
No one knows how the deer managed to get trapped but the animals don't have any traction on the ice to get out of trouble themselves.
A spokesperson for the local Illinois Department of Natural Resources office said they do not have resources to devote to attempted rescue.
Bill Houska and his father both flew helicopters for NewsChannel 5.