Teens, neighbors work together to save drowning deer


SANDY CREEK, N.Y. (WSYR) – Families home for the holidays worked to lend a helping hand to the deer that was trapped and struggling in that freezing water.

On Sunday, a mother deer and her fawn wandered onto the ice on South Sandy Pond in Sandy Creek. Neighbors watched as suddenly the mother fell through the ice and began to struggle.

“I was cleaning my truck and my grandpa came out and said a deer fell through the ice,” said 17-year-old Levi Darling, who then decided to act.

Darling and a friend canvassed the shoreline for a canoe. They found one, then grabbed a pair of shovels. The boys and members of Levi’s family launched the canoe and slowly started chipping away at the ice to try and make a path for the deer to swim to shore.

“I was in the front and Brad was in the back and he just kept pushing along I just kept chipping bits off,” Darling said. After a couple hours-worth of work, a path was formed. The chipping of the ice scared the deer farther into the center of the pond. Darling says it didn’t want to move, so another neighbor, 19-year-old Casey Hargrave came up with an idea to help lead the deer to shore.

“I put my drone up in the air and we flew it over in that direction,” Hargrave said. “I hit record and I tried to nudge it and scare it that direction toward the shoreline.”

Slowly, the deer was able to find it’s footing and followed the path. A few minutes later, it made its way back to shore. The whole operation took about two and a half hours.

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