After a typical Christmas for a Bloomsburg family took a terrifying turn, rescuers interrupted their own vacation for action.
BLOOMSBURG, PA – It was a typical Christmas morning at the Unger family home in Bloomsburg. The presents had just been opened.
“She had a shotgun for Christmas. We were going to take it out, shoot some rounds,” said Joel Unger.
Joel and his daughter Cheyanne Unger walked over to the deck of their house. Cheyanne’s brother and their 6-month-old Golden Retriever, Luna, followed.
“All of a sudden I heard a strange noise,” said Noreen Unger, Joel’s mother.
But the noise Noreen heard from inside was not a gunshot: the outer deck had collapsed.
“I went to the gate, and the first thing I saw was my son rolling down the bank,” Noreen said.
Then it was one miracle after another. Cheyanne and her brother tumbled safely to the side. Joel kind of missed some poles sticking out of the ground on the way down.
“I just feel the Lord guided him to this shore, that he missed it all,” Noreen said.
Immediately everyone’s attention was on the puppy, Luna.
“We found out she jumped into the river and they found her on this island,” Noreen said.
The Unger family told Newswatch 16 that this was Luna’s first time in the water.
Rescuers estimate the dog swam about 150 yards to the island opposite Unger’s backyard.
“I don’t know if I could swim that far,” Joel said.
About two hours after the bridge collapsed, the family called 911.
“I said right, let me see if we can get the guys and the boat together in the water,” said Bloomsburg Fire Department Chief Scott McBride.
Rescuers say that although they were each in the middle of something with their families, they were quick to stop their own Christmas Day celebrations.
“This is just a non-negotiable issue for us. We treat dogs like cats too, like family. They’re someone’s loved ones, ”said Chief McBride.
“I wouldn’t have lived with myself if we hadn’t,” said Deputy Chief John Mahon of the Bloomsburg Fire Department.
Rescuers first had to gain Luna’s trust.
“She made it to the end of the island where she had nowhere to go, and her choice was either to go or to jump in the water. And I think she wanted to go home, ”said Chief McBride.
Finally, the rescuers were able to bring the dog ashore by boat. Every member of the Unger Newswatch 16 family spoke with complete gratitude.
“Very grateful,” Cheyanne said. “That they stopped their day to come and pick her up.
“They are the best people in the world, and I can’t say enough to thank them for what they have done for us,” said Joel.
“I know how much she means to my uncle and the family, and I’m glad everyone is safe,” said Ashley Morgan, Joel Unger’s niece.
“When Cheyanne called and told me they got her, I cried,” Noreen said. ” , she succeeded.
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