A loon found stranded on a ski trail at Saddleback Mountain on Saturday was safely captured and returned to open water, ski resort officials said.

The loon was spotted on Lower Hudson Highway and was safely captured by staff, placed in a plastic crate, and taken on a sled to the base lodge at Saddleback, according to a press release from the resort.

Jared Emerson, Saddleback Ski Patrol Director, said marks in the snow indicated the loon had landed on a closed trail, America, and then skidded itself onto an open neighboring trail where it was spotted by skiers.

Emerson said while trying to capture the loon, it continued to propel itself forward and slide down the mountain until it was caught on Upper Red Devil.

“I never thought I’d be scooping up a loon and rescuing it in a Rubbermaid tub,” Emerson said Monday.

He said they were told by wardens that the loon was not able to take off from the snow and needed to be taken to open water in order to survive.

At the resort’s base lodge, the loon’s condition was assessed and it was taken with the Maine Warden Service to a section of open water on the Rangeley River Saturday night and released.

The stranded loon was the only rescue call of the day for the ski patrol and was handled by Emerson and Outdoor Wilderness EMT Shelby Mullins Rousseau, according to the release.

“The following morning the loon was gone, giving rescuers hope that it had flown to its winter ocean home,” said the resort’s release.

Christopher Farmer, Saddleback’s general manager, said in the release that “we were delighted we could help this loon return to open water before the lake completely froze over.”

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