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Traffic halts, crowd gathers as crews rescue goat

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

Several neighbors, drivers, and firefighters spent the better part of the day watching a dramatic rescue of a goat in Mercer County.

Crews were called to the scene Tuesday afternoon above Highway 68. That's where a goat became trapped on a cliff right over the highway.

The sound that haunted John Junkin and his family for most of the night. "We're hearing this unusual sheep noise," Junkin told 27 Newsfirst, "We hear it, but we don't see it."

That's because when you hear an unusual sheep noise, you don't always think to look up. But sure enough, this goat had wandered off the cattle farm above into a dangerous perch. Dangerous for the goat and for anyone below. "If the thing would have fallen off from 80 feet up, next thing you know I got a car swerving, coming over the guard rail into our house, anything could have happened," Junkin said.

Mercer County firefighters assembled a repelling team to mount a daring rescue mission, but the already frightened goat wasn't convinced they were there to help. With vultures above hoping for one outcome, people below kept their fingers crossed for the goat. "All kids love animals, so you know, that's all I need is a goat to fall 80 feet to its death, the kids are traumatized," Junkin said.

"It's pretty funny in a way," Mercer County Fire District Chief Scott Hammons said, "but after we got down here, this has happened a few times before, but after we got down here, you could see the possibility of causing an accident, the location where it's at in case the goat fell, or knocked some rocks off the cliff."

When the repelling team fell short, firefighters used a bucket truck to approach from a different angle. Some drivers stuck in traffic may have rolled their eyes when they discovered the source of all the fuss, but others found the operation impressive. "These guys take this much care over a goat, you can only imagine the care and consideration they'd take if it was a person trapped in a car wreck, or if somebody went over one of these palisades back up through here," Junkin said.

In the end, only the vultures were disappointed with a good day for firefighters, neighbors, and one very lucky goat.

The farmer who owns the goat was unavailable for comment, but neighbors say he keeps about a dozen goats on his cattle farm because they have a calming effect on the other animals.

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