BYUSA Today Network William Westhoven, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record Published 12:50 a.m. ET March 20, 2017 | Updated 1:29 p.m. ET March 20, 2017
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A Morris County OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached a deer trapped on the ice of a Roxbury pond, but suddenly tipped and sank. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. Staff Video by Bob Karp

An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ(Photo: Bob Karp/Staff Photographer)

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ROXBURY, N.J. — A deer-rescue effort on a Roxbury pond took a dramatic turn Sunday morning as an amphibious vehicle holding five responders sank, casting its crew into freezing-cold water.

The crew was quickly rescued by members of Roxbury Fire Co. 1, according to Roxbury Police spokesperson Jennifer Dillard. The deer, which had been stuck in surface ice on the pond since the day before, also was rescued and brought to a shelter for treatment, Dillard said.

Police were first dispatched on Saturday to a report of a deer stuck on a pond behind a residential section of condos on Lagoon Way, south of the Ledgewood Mall. Also responding to the scene were the township animal control officer and agents from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife, who agreed that the best thing to do would be to leave the deer alone.

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While authorities gathered back at the scene at 7 a.m. Sunday to discuss options, "They were advised that residents were formulating their own plans in an attempt to rescue the deer, and they even had a resident who approached them and stated that they were going to go buy a boat so they could attempt the rescue," Dillard said.

"I looked out my front window and I saw the deer further back in the middle of the pond," nearby resident Gary Stevens said Sunday. "It's migrated a little closer to us since yesterday. We were worried how she was going to do last night because we didn't know if she was going to be hurt or sick or anything like that."

Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ (Photo: Bob Karp/Staff Photographer)

Responding to the resident actions, authorities decided to launch their own rescue, using an amphibious vehicle operated by the Morris County Office of Emergency Management, which had taken the lead at the scene.

"If this wasn't behind a condo complex and it was in the middle of the woods, then nature would just take its course and the deer would either get out, or it wouldn't," Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi said at the scene. "But here, when you have people seeing it, the fear of them acting on their own, which was very likely, I'm sure ... They had a guy on his way to get a boat. I think that's what spurred the decision, because they had a guy who said I'm going to get my boat and I'm going to save it. We can't stop that. We can't stop everybody. So they decided to go get it, to stop people."

As the rescue progressed, the boat suddenly began to take on water due to an equipment malfunction, according to Dillard. The men on the boat, who sunk with the vehicle into the icy water, were then rescued by Roxbury Fire Co. 1, while the deer was rescued by another man.

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An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen An OEM amphibious rescue craft sinks into Mills Pond after almost reached a deer stuck on the ice but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreen Roxbury Fire Department and OEM out on Mills Pond in Roxbury to rescue the deer, which became stuck in a partially frozen pond for 24 hours. An OEM amphibious rescue craft almost reached the deer but suddenly tipped and sank into the pond. All of the responders and the deer were rescued. March 19, 2017, Roxbury, NJ  Bob Karp/Staff PhotographerFullscreenReplay1 of 542 of 543 of 544 of 545 of 546 of 547 of 548 of 549 of 5410 of 5411 of 5412 of 5413 of 5414 of 5415 of 5416 of 5417 of 5418 of 5419 of 5420 of 5421 of 5422 of 5423 of 5424 of 5425 of 5426 of 5427 of 5428 of 5429 of 5430 of 5431 of 5432 of 5433 of 5434 of 5435 of 5436 of 5437 of 5438 of 5439 of 5440 of 5441 of 5442 of 5443 of 5444 of 5445 of 5446 of 5447 of 5448 of 5449 of 5450 of 5451 of 5452 of 5453 of 5454 of 54AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow Captions

"It wasn't a necessarily a mission to save the deer," Palanchi said. "It was a mission to save people from putting themselves in jeopardy, and then ending up needing to be saved."

The boat was still sunk in the middle of the pond on Sunday afternoon. Authorities said they were determining the best way to remove it.

The deer was tranquilized and transported to the Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary for treatment and rehabilitation.

Contributing: Bob Karp, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record. Follow William Westhoven on Twitter: @wwesthoven

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