Cat runs away from crews who tried rescuing it from bridge over Intracoastal Waterway

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A cat that appeared to have been stuck on a bridge’s light pole over the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale jumped up and ran away from rescue crews who attempted to save it.

The feline was photographed on top of a light pole more than 100 feet above the waterway, just before it saved itself and eluded rescuers.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue first responded to the scene at the 17th Street Causeway bridge over the Intracoastal at around 2:45 p.m., Wednesday.

Aerials showed the black and white cat perched on a light pole sticking out from the bridge.

“Our best guess is maybe it went after a bird out there,” Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Garrett Pingol said. “There’s no access point from below. We can’t rush something like this. You only get one chance, so that’s why our personnel are taking their time right now to get a game plan together and a backup plan.”

The Florida Department of Transportation was called out to use a special boom truck in an attempt to reach the cat.

“That’ll be safer for the cat, as well as our personnel,” Pingol said. “It’s not only an opportunity to do a public service. It is an opportunity for us to hone our skills. It’s an opportunity to apply a practical rescue that may one day be on an actual human being.”

One rescuer also put on a bulky jacket to protect against the cat’s claws, but as soon as crews got close to the feline, it jumped up onto the bridge and ran away down 17th Street.

“I thought, ‘I really hope if he falls that our firefighters are pretty good at netting,'” Pingol said.

Soon after, the cat was spotted laying in the shade of another light pole that lines the causeway bridge.

Marine Patrol stopped boat traffic below the bridge while crews attempted to rescue the cat, who now seems safe and on solid ground. Tourists and locals alike watched the attempted rescue from the water on board vessels that included personal watercrafts and a pirate ship.

The two westbound lanes of 17th Street were blocked off while crews worked the scene, but they have reopened.

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