Moose falls from Farmington trestle

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A moose fell roughly 25 feet from an old trestle bridge in Farmington on Sunday.

FARMINGTON – Swimmers in the Sandy River were shocked on Sunday after witnessing a moose fall nearly 25 feet into the river from the old trestle bridge. According to Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Mark Latti, however, the incident isn’t all that abnormal.

“This is the time of year when young moose find themselves in odd places,” Latti said.

As cows prepare to give birth in the spring, they often push away their older offspring. The yearlings can get easily confused without their mothers nearby to guide them, Latti said, and frequently end up in towns, cities or other disorienting areas. This was most likely the case for the young moose involved with Sunday’s incident, he said.

But for Jason Hawkins and his family, watching the situation unfold was a once in a lifetime event, and one that left them all a little shaken.

“It was an intense experience,” Hawkins said.

He and his family were celebrating a birthday party on the river, and on the nearby field, when the moose came running down the newly constructed accessible trail. It wasn’t the first time Hawkins had seen a moose, and in fact he grew up alongside wildlife whenever his mother would take in injured animals. She was a state certified rehabilitator, and even helped an injured deer get prosthetic legs at one point.

After being possibly startled by the people, the moose veered off into the brush, cutting up through the trees to the ridge portion of the trail. It wasn’t long after that the moose fell, or jumped, into the river below, landing nearly 25 feet below in shallow water.

“I’m pretty used to this kind of stuff…but still, it was a huge animal. There was nothing we could do,” Hawkins said.

After calling 911, he and his family could only stand by and watch as the moose exhausted itself with trying to stand and eventually drowned while trying to cross the river.

Hawkins said he was surprised that nothing like this had happened before. The trestle is a frequented spot for young people in the area, and towers above shallow waters with no fencing or barrier.

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