“I wasn’t cold; there was no special danger, we know that part of the river well.” This is how Denis Kovačić, a humble firefighter from Vukovar, commented on the rescue of a dog from the Stara Vuka river in Vukovar, reports Večernji List on January 27, 2019.
He is a dog owner himself, and he asked his colleagues to let him save the dog. “I was not afraid to come close to her, it was enough for me to look into her eyes and everything was clear. She just needed to be rescued from cold water; she could not bark anymore…” Asked if he was thinking about whether something might go wrong, Denis said there is no room for such thoughts.
“We know the depth of the river. It is about a metre deep in that area. If the dog refused to stay on the mattress, I would have swum to get her. There are security procedures as you saw, we used three ropes, and four or five people were watching out for me. We do this kind of training. A dog can survive in cold water for about 15 minutes, and a child or an adult considerably less. After we were pulled to the shore, I immediately sent the owner home to warm up the dog.”
The Vukovar firefighters are well prepared for such situations, thanks to their commander Zdenko Jukić, who made sure they have expensive firefighting equipment for extreme conditions, which enables them to stay in the cold water for up to an hour. “Let the citizens know that we are well-trained for their security in extreme situations,” Denis added.
The owner of the dog, who released the video of the rescue on his Facebook profile, tried to pull the dog to the river bank himself. But the ice near the bank was too thin and was cracking. Fortunately, he called in the Vukovar firefighters.
The dog is named Lea, she weighs 24 kg and was found in the streets four years ago, when she was two months old. “We came just 3 to 4 minutes after receiving the call, but we do not know how long the dog was in cold water before that. We did not do anything heroic, we have been in much worse situations. We are happy for every happy outcome and a saved life,” said Denis.
More news about Croatia’s firefighters can be found in the Lifestyle section.
Translated from Večernji List (reported by Linda Draškić).