Woman jumps into river to save distressed swan swimming in circles ‘honking and crying’

This is the moment a woman bravely jumps into a river to save a panicking young swan after spotting it swimming in circles while “honking and crying”.

Katie Chalmers, 43, is shown entering the water without hesitation to save the distressed cygnet in a video which has since gone viral on TikTok.

The recruitment agency managing director became concerned after she saw the swan swimming in circles while she was out for a run.

She thought the bird had been caught in fishing line, sprang into action and pulled the swan from the River Witham, near Boston, Lincolnshire.

Katie had to contend with the cygnet’s protective mother as, once she got near, it attacked her and she was “clonked by a wing”. She soon realised the stricken bird was not trapped, but had suffered some form of episode.

The qualified rescue diver took the cygnet to a specialist, who liaised with local vets, and came to the conclusion it was suffering some kind of trauma – but not bird flu.

She said: “I challenged myself to run a mile every day for 30 days, so went on a big run into town. I got onto the riverbank and I could hear the honking of the swans in the water.

“I watched this cygnet swimming round and round and the more I looked at it, I was convinced it was entangled in fishing wire. I got it in my mind it was tied in its beak as was not breaking the circle. It horrified me as it didn’t have control.

“I thought ‘what do I do?’ My first thought was to leave it alone and I thought about ringing the RSPCA, but it was bad signal. I thought if I’m going to do something. I need to do it now.”

Katie, who lives on a farm and describes herself as an animal lover, bravely went into the river as the current was calm.

She added: “I was half expecting to be attacked by the swan. The mother bird did go for me, but then she backed off and climbed out of the water.

“As soon as I grabbed the cygnet both the parents backed off. They didn’t like the approach. I knew as I went in swans can do some absolute damage.

“I couldn’t have lived with myself knowing it could have been a human-made incident. But as soon as I picked the bird up it was super cuddly and wanted to be out of that water, sat with its head over my shoulder.”

The local specialist suspects the bird was suffering from trauma and that it could have also been attacked by other swans, possibly even the swans thought to be its parents.

In another act of kindness, Katie is going to pick up any vets bills incurred after taking the bird to the specialist. The swan survived the night after being brought in and will now be seen by local vets.