Trapped beneath the surface in a dark sewer, six little ducklings found themselves cut off and facing a distinctly uncertain future.
Their only hope of ever seeing daylight again lay with their mother who they had last seen two miles away as they were sucked into a drain.
It seemed an impossible task.
Yet, she followed her brood's cries for a mile, crossing a busy roundabout, countless roads, a metro rail line, a housing estate, two school playing fields and hospital grounds.
Her epic journey finally ended when she waddled onto Barrasford Close in Gosforth, an affluent suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne, where her chicks suddenly stopped.
It was there, standing over a manhole cover, that the mother remained for the next four hours until stunned local residents heard chirping coming from down below.
They in turn launched a massive operation to reunite the ducklings with their mother.
Removing the manhole cover they used a child's fishing net to scoop all six out from the sewer one by one before placing them and their tired mother in a paddling pool.