'Cat Hero' rescues kitten from Hillsborough River
TAMPA (FOX 13) - A very scared, but very lucky kitten was saved after falling into the water at Tampa Riverwalk Saturday.
Tampa police officers tried to coax the orange tabby from the Kennedy Boulevard bridge over the Hillsborough River, but it backed up and fell over the side, right into the path of his rescuer.
Josh Page, of St. Petersburg, was with his family on the Riverwalk when he saw people gathered, watching the rescue. He pulled out his phone and began recording.
His video shows the cat perched between the concrete rails of the bridge with a police officer peering over the edge. Tampa police say officers Kevin Laren and Noel Ramiro tried to find a net to grab the kitty, but they had to act fast.
With no net handy, one of the officers stuck his hand between the rails behind the cat. But when the officer went for the grab, the cat backed up and fell about 30 feet, splashing into the water.
Meanwhile, a woman on a water bike had just peddled over, stopping just feet from where the kitty landed. Moments after the cat splashed, so did the water biker. She quickly swam toward the cat, which was frantically trying to escape.
The woman grabbed the kitten, but it quickly squirmed away. She grabbed it again and managed to hold on as she paddled her way back to the water bike.
The gathered onlookers cheered. Page commented the woman was a "cat hero!" But the rescue was far from over.
The Cat Hero set the soaking wet ball of fur onto the water bike, but the kitten was still in escape mode. It went to the opposite side of the water bike, hesitated, and then jumped toward the concrete wall of the bridge.
Not willing to give up on the little kitty, the woman swam to the other side of the vessel and scooped the terrified feline back onto the water bike.
As Page panned to his left, a boat had arrived and appeared to be preparing to help. The woman stayed in the water, holding the cat to make sure it did not make another attempt to escape.
Tampa police say the people in the boat helped the woman out of the water. They also adopted the kitty and named it Lucky.