Firefighters attempt goose rescue in Ashfield

  • The goose huddled on Ashfield Lake Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Ashfield firefighters pack up ice rescue gear after trying to catch a goose that wandered out onto Ashfield Lake Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ASHFIELD — Firefighters learned from experience Wednesday what the old saying ‘a wild goose chase’ means.

Despite several attempts, rescue crews could not catch a lone goose stuck on the ice covering Ashfield Lake.

“The ice froze around the goose, and it couldn’t get out. It was really awful. You could hear it calling to the other geese who were swimming out in open water. It was freezing out there. The wind was awful,” said Karen Lavallee, who lives on the lake and helped alert authorities.

The goose became stuck over the weekend, and had been there ever since, Lavallee said, adding, “I don’t know if it was injured before they went to rescue it.”

According to Police Chief Beth Bezio, a decision to try and rescue the goose was made by the Ashfield Fire Department and Animal Control Officer Warren Kirkpatrick, who received a call about the goose around 1 p.m.

But “he didn’t want to be caught. They tried to go out onto the ice to get him, and couldn’t catch him,” Bezio said. Eventually, fire officials called rescue crews off the ice, leaving the goose to fend for itself.

Around 2 p.m., Ashfield firefighters could be seen packing up rope and pulling a sled designed to slide over thin ice up the lake’s bank beside Ashfield Lakehouse.

Temperatures at the lake were well below freezing Wednesday afternoon, and a strong wind whipped snow into bitter air. The goose huddled in a dark lump about 50 yards off shore.

Even though authorities couldn’t catch the goose, good came of their attempt.

“I saw them go out with their sled toward the goose. He was flapping his wings, so he got loose from the ice,” Lavallee said.

In addition to local firefighters and the Ashfield Police Department, Plainfield Rescue was there with a truck and manpower to assist as needed. The goose remained stayed put as of late Wednesday evening.