German firefighters rescue owl trapped in old castle’s well

BERLIN (AP) — Firefighters in northern Germany have rescued a young owl trapped in a 40-meter (130-foot) well shaft, following an hours-long operation in which oxygen was pumped into the depths before a rescuer could rappel down to save the bird.

Authorities said a member of the public called firefighters in the town of Bad Segeberg on Saturday after hearing sounds from the distressed bird inside the well, which belonged to the 12th Century Siegesburg Castle that once stood on the spot.

Before sending a firefighter down the 40-meter (130-feet) well-shaft, rescuers determined the oxygen levels at the bottom were very low.

They pumped fresh air down, using long tubes connected to an oxygen bottle as a precaution before a firefighter, wearing his own oxygen mask, descended and rescued the bird.

The entire rescue operation lasted 3 1/2 hours and involved about 20 people.

The eagle owl was turned over to a local nature park, which said Monday it was weakened but doing well and would be returned to the wild in Bad Segeberg on Tuesday.

The castle was razed to the ground in the 17th Century, during the Thirty Years War, with the well its only remaining visible trace.

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