A British family that mistakenly threw their 30-year-old pet tortoise out with the trash said the animal was rescued from a Canterbury, England, landfill.
Jane Deslandes and her daughter, Maria, 26, said they immediately phoned officials after realizing the pet, Fred, was likely thrown out with a bag of grass clippings that he had turned into a bed, The Times of London reported Wednesday.
"It was absolutely horrendous when we realized what had happened," Deslandes said. "We panicked because we didn't know where the rubbish goes, so we had to phone the council to find out."
Deslandes said she and Maria quickly set off for the landfill after being told the destination of their trash and joined the search for the tortoise that had been organized by site manager Vinod Mehroke shortly after he was informed of the situation.
However, Deslandes said hours of searching proved fruitless and Mehroke told her the landfill was due to be buried at 5 p.m. But after the women left, Mehroke and two workers continued the search and discovered Fred alive and well just minutes before he would have been buried.
"He had a couple of chips on his shell. Otherwise he was OK," Deslandes said. "We took him to the vet and they gave him a vitamin injection -- they said it was a miracle. I can't thank the guys enough," Deslandes said.