Bev Jandreau said she was in the right place at the right time Monday evening when a young deer jumped off a large chunk of ice floating down the St. John River near her home in St. Francis and swam toward shore.

Her video of the deer making it to safety caused a sensation on social media because about 12 miles upstream from St. Francis, near the town of Allagash, other people had filmed the deer trapped on the ice pack and wondered whether the animal would survive.

Jandreau said she went down to the river after a relative called to let her know that a deer was trapped on a pack of river ice.

“I saw him go under twice. The first time a piece of ice covered his head and then I lost sight of him in the bushes,” Jandreau said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening.

When Jandreau returned to the road that runs beside the river, she started talking with a bystander. “We assumed the deer drowned,” she said.

As they spoke, the deer suddenly appeared out of the bushes, trotted across the roadway and disappeared into the woods – something Jandreau caught on video.


Her video footage turned into a social media sensation. More than 70,000 people had watched the video, which she posted on her Facebook page, by Tuesday morning, according to The Associated Press.

“Everyone was amazed and just so happy,” said Jandreau, who is the wife of St. Francis Fire Chief Gerald Jandreau. “I think everyone expected that the deer wouldn’t make it. But when I made it public, everything just blew up.”

The deer’s adventure likely began near the town of Allagash, where Sue Underhill Kelly filmed the deer rushing past Tylor Kellys Camps on a large chunk of ice.

“We held our breath when this brave little deer stranded on the rushing ice floated by us today. We were watching the ice run out of the St. John River at Cross Rock. The deer floated at least two miles downstream before we lost sight of it,” Kelly wrote in a Facebook post. “I hope it made it to shore. Wish we could have done something to help.”

Maine author Cathie Pelletier, who also took a photograph of the deer on the river, called the saga “The Deer Story” in a post on her Facebook page.

“This wasn’t a dull Monday. Here is what happened, and with these three videos you’ll really understand why most of us didn’t think this little deer had a chance,” Pelletier said in her post.

“My husband said this was meant to happen,” Jandreau said.

According to the Jandreaus, there used to be a mill on that section of the St. John River and many years ago millworkers dredged the riverbed so that the current would transport logs to that side of the riverbank. “That’s probably what saved the deer’s life,” Bev Jandreau said.


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