It’s not every day that Montgomery County police officer H. Chen finds himself climbing into a storm drain on a rescue mission.
But that was the case Wednesday morning when Chen was asked to respond after a resident came to the police department’s 4th District substation in Olney to report a mother duck acting “strangely” near the CVS on Olney Sandy Spring Road, the department shared on Twitter.
It turned out that the duck’s eight babies, each sprouting yellow and brown feathers, had fallen down a storm drain, officials said.
Chen was one of two police officers who responded to the scene, along with three members of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service.
This morning a concerned resident approached the 4D Olney Substation about a mother duck acting strangely near the CVS. It turns out her babies fell down a storm drain. MCFRS was able to lift the storm drain cover and MCPD Officer H. Chen reached down and saved 8 babies.#mcpnews pic.twitter.com/cHcAnI9tso— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) July 13, 2022
Because the ducklings could run away into smaller tunnels connecting to the storm drain at any time, Chen said Wednesday afternoon that he chose to rescue them instead of waiting for the county’s animal control service to arrive.
After the fire and rescue crew lifted the storm drain cover, which weighs at least 100 pounds, Chen placed plastic blocks to cover the smaller tunnels to prevent the eight ducklings from scattering.
Then, as another officer held on to the back of his pants to keep him from falling in, Chen reached down into the storm drain and rescued the ducklings.
Meanwhile, the mother duck waited nearby anxiously — she was “very worried,” Chen said.
Once the mother duck and her brood were back safely on the ground, all nine waddled away from the scene.
“It’s great to just bring them back and have a unique reunion for them,” Chen said.
Christine Zhu of Gaithersburg, a rising junior from the University of Maryland who is studying journalism and Spanish, is the Bethesda Beat summer intern.