Dog rescued after being ejected off Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel during crash

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SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A dog ejected off the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel during a multi-vehicle crash has been rescued and returned to his owners.

Officers with Virginia Marine Police retrieved the German Shepherd named Kenji from the water about a half-an-hour after it plunged off the bridge as a result from the crash, according to Sergeant Robert Griffin with the department.

Luckily in a photo taken after the rescue, Kenji looks to be in fairly good spirits.

MPO Donald Bond (R) with the Virginia Marine Police is pictured with “Kinji,” a German Shepherd, who has been reunited with his owners Marc Hernando (C) and Ethel Hernando (L) after being rescued from the James River. (Courtesy: Virginia Marine Resources Commission)

“Whether it be a pod of dolphins or a dog ejected from the bridge, we are there to assist,” Griffin said.

The call came in shortly after 3 p.m. Friday for a 3 to 5 car accident on I-664 northbound, according to Sergeant Michelle Anaya with Virginia State Police.

While a woman involved in the crash was taken to Riverside Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, per City of Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink, it was the dog many were worried about.

Griffin explained when he arrived on scene two men were hanging over the bridge looking down at the water.

“One of the gentlemen was the dog’s owner, he was calling to the dog trying to keep him in sight. Another gentleman had taken the rope … put a loop on it and threw it down to the dog,” Griffin said.

Griffin had him add a life ring, and the dog used it to stay afloat.

“Grabbed the life ring with one paw and kind of maintained stability on the barnacles with the other paw,” Griffin said.

Eventually, Officer Brandon Price arrived in a VMP boat to get the dog on board.

“We had a strong outgoing current. That was our big concern, that the dog would get swept away with the current. But officer Price meticulously maneuvered that boat,” Griffin said. “Being an avid dog owner myself, my whole life, it was good to see this dog saved.”

Griffin said Kinji was viably shaken up and exhausted, but he still managed to steal a kiss.

“You know a lot of our cases end up in misfortune for people. But this one happened to have a happy ending,” Griffin said.

Traffic was back moving as of 3:52 p.m. after the crash shut down all northbound lanes. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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