PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Out on Fort Duquesne Boulevard, KDKA saw a mother in distress — a mother duck that is, a female mallard to be precise — caught on the side of the roadway with a dozen baby ducklings in tow.

Searching for safety, she took them down the ramp of the bypass looking in vain for some kind of opening. She almost got there until she made the mistake of walking across this sewer grate and all but three of the ducklings fell through the slots.

READ MORE: Lawsuit: 14-Year-Old Girl Was Sexually Assaulted By McDonald's Manager Who Was Convicted Sex Offender

It was so distressing Andy Sheehan forgot to take video of them falling and called 911 and Pittsburgh Animal Control, which arrived on the scene to mount their rescue and save the ducklings trapped below.

But trying every implement they could think of, the police and Animal Control officers just couldn’t pry the grate open. So, they called in the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority which had just the thing: a sledgehammer to loosen the 300 pounds of metal and a crowbar to lift it.

READ MORE: Pennsylvania Gets $1 Billion From Nationwide Opioid Settlement

Then Animal Control Officer Steve Costa went down to retrieve the eight terrified babies and to the relief of all, rounded each up and brought them back to the surface saving their young lives.

(Photo: KDKA)

“With the rains coming, they could have got washed who knows where. Lucky, you saw and called when you did,” said Jeff Ley with Animal Control.

The control officers then took them down to the river and with some encouragement were able to coax each one into the Allegheny to look for their mom, who had taken three other ducklings downriver and was no longer in sight.

MORE NEWS: South Side Violence Pits Bar Owners Against Residents With Police In The Middle

“We had contacted the Game Commission and asked them if was alright if we released them into the water and they said it was fine. The mother will come back and get her ducklings so it’s a good love story in the end,” he said.