On a dark and stormy night, a young Wichita family was torn apart, separated by high waters and murky drains.
It would take the long arm of an Eastborough police officer to rescue and reunite the six wayward ducklings with their mother.
At 8:30 Thursday morning, an Eastborough resident called the city’s clerk, Debra Gann, and told her the duck family needed help. Gann immediately relayed the information to Eastborough officers Kevin Dorritie and Michael Erwin.
“My first thought was, ‘Let’s go get some ducks out of a sewer,’ ” Erwin said.
The officers rushed to 13 Colonial St. A storm sewer drain runs under Colonial Street. The mother duck stood looking down at her family through a sewer gate.
Orange traffic cones were placed around the storm drain to ensure the safety of the officers and the ducks.
Erwin lifted the grate, but the frightened ducklings quickly scampered underneath the street. The mother duck was vocally upset.
Erwin, who has been on the job for about a month, laid his body down over the storm sewer opening. Dorritie, his boss, said of the rookie cop:
“He was able to risk his life and limb to pull out the ducklings.”
It took about 90 minutes to rescue the ducklings. Each time Erwin would stretch his long arm down to pick up a duckling, the rest would scatter to the other side of the street, he said. Dorritie stood on the other side of the street drain encouraging the babies to return to Erwin’s arm.
But then, as family dynamics are often wont to do, as soon as Erwin finished scooping the babies up and handed them off to their family – four babies went with the Mama Duck, while two others went their own way.
“We gave chase,” Dorritie said. “Through some yards and over fences. We were able to apprehend the two juveniles. They were cited and released over to their mother.”
It took two hours to fully reunite the family, Dorritie said.
No charges were filed. The ducklings were first-time offenders, Dorritie said.
At last glance, the family was headed to the Eastborough pond.