FOUR baby cygnets were saved in a dramatic rescue outside the Ballarat Yacht Club on Tuesday night.
The babies, just weeks old, slipped into a drain out the front of the yacht club around 6.15pm.
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Wildlife volunteer Heather Lewis, who regularly checks on the family grouping, made the discovery when she noticed the two adult swans and four of the five cygnet babies distressed near a drain.
"When I arrived I noticed there was one missing and I could see the parents getting all distressed hovering around the drain," Ms Lewis said.
"I thought at first, that one might have disappeared and I was going to drive off, but then I could see the parents at the drain and I knew something had happened.
"I could see the others with the parents and then three of the other four babies fell in as well.
I could see the others with the parents and then three of the other four babies fell in as wellWildlife volunteer Heather Lewis
"They all fell down the one drain, but actually a couple ended up at another. That's why I was hoping the parents would hang around and they could respond to their calling.
"Perhaps if they had left the area earlier, we might never have known they were there."
Another witness Caroline Kissane said the other three cygnets just slid down the drain as the parents were keeping watch.
"One of the parents was also trying to slide down but was too big to fall," she said.
"We were riding past and we were thinking, 'oh no, one's gone down the drain'."
Ballarat Fire Station senior station officer Dave Mounier said fire officers used a thermal camera to check the whole drain pipe, which went all the way under the car parking area at the front of the yacht club.
"Obviously we're in a situation that we can't go all the way into the drain pipe, so we used the thermal camera to take a look up the pipe and take a quick snapshot so we could see what we were dealing with.
"If there had have been another cygnet up in the pipe, we would have been able to see that."
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