Men rescue injured bald eagle from freezing river in Missouri

Men rescue injured bald eagle from freezing river in Missouri

MISSOURI (KFVS) - What could have turned into a tragic situation for our national symbol thankfully turned happy for three men and a bird in Missouri.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Luke Klemme and Brett Byington saw a bald eagle perched on a low-hanging tree near the Cuivre River and noticed that its left eye was gone and it couldn't fly.

They contacted Lincoln County Conservation Agent Kevin Eulinger, who attempted to catch the bird.

The bird eluded Eulinger, plunging into the river's freezing waters and floated to the other side.

The two men quickly canoed across the river and captured the bird in a burlap sack so they could bring it to Eulinger.

Eulinger took the eagle - nicknamed "Lynyrd," in honor of the Lynyrd Skynyrd hit song, "Free Bird" -  to the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, where it is recovering.

The eagle's eye injury means it can't be released back to the wild, but will have a home at a sanctuary or zoo.

"We're just happy to have the opportunity to save such an amazing creature - our national symbol for more than 234 years!" said Byington.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.