THE lives of two New Forest swans were saved after they became tangled up in a discarded toy and were being pulled under the water.

On Wednesday, May 27, RSPCA animal rescuers were called to Sturt Pond, Milford-on-Sea, after passersby spotted two swans in distress.

The remembers of the public had noticed that the two swans seemed unusually close to each other

The onlooker feared they were entangled in something at the bottom of the pond, after reporting they looked like they were being pulled under the water.

RSPCA Inspector Patrick Bailey said when they arrived it appeared that the two birds were sinking in the pond.

He added: "They were clearly becoming waterlogged and it became apparent that they were tangled together and then attached to something beneath the water.

“Initially the swans were out of our reach and it was heartbreaking to watch them struggle because each time the stronger bird attempted to get away, the weaker bird was pulled underwater and was at risk of being drowned.

"In fact, both of them were at a real risk of being injured or drowning as they became increasingly entangled and exhausted.

“Whilst we were establishing what kit would be needed to save them, it was almost as if the swans decided they wanted to be rescued."

Patrick explained how the stronger bird made a "desperate effort" to come towards the shore, dragging the other bird with it.

Fortunately, both came within reach of the rescuer's Reach and Rescue Poles and they were able to be hooked up and pulled out of the water.

Patrick and his colleague, RSPCA Inspector Jo Story, then each set about cutting a bird free, as both were entangled in a thick twine that had gone around the legs, wings, bodies and necks.

One of the birds had a hook among its chest feathers but the skin had not been pierced.

The heavy weight that was pulling the birds under the water was revealed to be a plastic handle at the end of the twine, which had accumulated so much weed and silt that it became a "solid, heavy mass".