07/08/2014 04:30 EDT | Updated 09/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Moose relocation turns into rescue mission in western Labrador

What began as a moose relocation in western Labrador over the weekend turned into a rescue when the animal fell into a watery bog after being tranquilized.

Moose are rarely spotted in the area, and conservation officer Chuck Porter said they wanted to avoid any traffic accidents involving the animal.

Porter said officers shot the moose with a tranquilizer dart to move it somewhere safer, but the animal took a turn and fell unconscious into the water.

"I was very concerned that the animal was going to drown before we could get it, and I wasn't even sure we could get to it," said Porter.

"Conservation officer Cody Wheeler happened to be closer to the moose at the time and he didn't hesitate. The moose was starting to drown in the little water hole and officer Wheeler jumped right in there and kept his head above water."

Passers-by pitch in

Porter said Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers and conservation officers, as well as passers-by all helped get the moose out of the water.

Neil Simmons, who pulled over to help out, said he couldn't believe what he saw.

"[We] had to traverse a pretty deep ditch, which was something. You've got your head up the business end of a moose, trying to get him on the stretcher," said Simmons.

"[It was] over 400 pounds and he's breathing and he's warm and you're grabbing on to his fur and you're hauling on him and pulling. You're taking his legs and tucking them under his body, then you stop and realize — wait now, this is a moose? When do you do that in your lifetime?"

The hard work paid off, and Porter and the other conservation officers later released the moose about an hour outside of Labrador City.