An owl had to be cut free from a giant pipe after becoming trapped inside.
Intrepid engineers went above and beyond their day jobs by drilling a hole in the 50-foot-high pipe to rescue the stricken critter.
In nervy footage, Kirk Neuenschwander and his colleagues can be seen feeding a camera into the narrow tube, checking on the creature inside while a hole big enough for the bird to escape was being drilled.
Kirk, 23, and the crew with Anguil Environment Systems discovered the great horned owl while working at Sacramento Historic Railyards, Sacramento, California.
Having initially suspected a lizard was inside the giant stack pipe, Kirk looked through a drain plug no wider than a quarter, only to see the talons and feathers of a large bird.
Believing the owl had been trapped in there for a day – and with seemingly no way out – Kirk and his colleagues began to look for alternatives to rescue the bird.
A stack pipe is the large main pipe that others feed off and having realized they could not coax the owl out of such a large tube, Kirk and his team began to use one of their cameras to peer inside.
With the camera focused on the bird while one member of the team drilled a hole in the side of the pipe.
Drilling this hole allowed Kirk, who captured the moment, to get a clear glimpse of the bird, and then, following a suspenseful few seconds, the owl slowly made its way out of the hole before flying off to a round of cheers.
Kirk, who is from San Bernadino, California, said: “Seeing the owl’s head for the first time I was excited – it was a beautiful bird, and actually quite big.
“It had gorgeous eyes, and it was awesome to see a majestic bird like that up close.
“I was still worried that it might have hurt itself in the fall, so I suspended my excitement, since I didn’t know if we would still have to call raptor rescue.
“We all felt great. Its wings were massive. It was awesome to see a great horned owl up close.
“Seeing it fly away made it feel like it was all worth it, like we had done a good thing that day.”