Heroic paddle boarder saves drowning squirrel

An heroic paddle boarder dramatically saved a squirrel’s life after it was trapped in a fast flowing river.

Thomas Paterson, 22, was travelling down stream on his board in Ottawa, Canada, when he spotted the furry animal stranded on a rock.

Realising the distressed critter had become trapped, kind-hearted Thomas decided to comfort the animal, gain its trust and try and return it safely to the shore.

Thomas Paterson, 22 spotted the furry animal stranded on a rock while travelling down stream on his board in Ottawa, Canada

Thomas Paterson, 22, spotted the furry animal stranded on a rock while travelling down stream on his board in Ottawa, Canada

But before he could grab the stricken animal, it made a break for freedom – and ended up caught in a fast-flowing current.

It quickly washed him downstream, before he became trapped in a small hole under water.

But quick thinking Thomas managed to pluck the squirrel to safety.

He said of his heroics:  "Thankfully I managed to pick him out of the water and place him on my board before I swam him to shore."

He said of his heroics: “Thankfully I managed to pick him out of the water and place him on my board before I swam him to shore.”

He said of his heroics: “I wanted him to make a break for it so I could just grab him from the water.

“Eventually he tried jumping up stream, but got worked into a little hole. Thankfully I managed to pick him out of the water and place him on my board before I swam him to shore.

“Once he was on my board he realised what I was doing and just chilled and enjoyed the free ride.”

The dramatic footage of the rescue was captured on a Go Pro strapped to Thomas’ head.

Thomas managed to pluck the squirrel to safety after the critter had become stranded

Thomas managed to pluck the squirrel to safety after the critter had become stranded

Thomas, from Oakville, Ontario, added: “This was one of my favourite spots for river boarding.

“I love encountering animals on the river.I realise it’s their home I am swimming through and enjoy giving them the respect they deserve.

“Some animals allow me to get close to them and chill but others want nothing to do with me.

“Ever since I was young I would often cross paths with snakes, turtles, skinks, rodents, and countless other animals.”