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Cat rescued after surviving on sunken boat in Lake Havasu, Ariz.
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Cat rescued after surviving on sunken boat in Lake Havasu, Ariz.

PHOENIX — The town of Lake Havasu City came together Monday in order to help a small animal who needed a lot of help.

Authorities were alerted to a disturbing scene Monday, when a low-profile power boat quickly sunk after being overtaken by waves near a sandbar north of the town, HavasuNews.com reported.

What officers with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department’s Search and Rescue team did not know is that River, a brown, American shorthair cat, was trapped underneath the sunken boat for about an hour.

John Zucalla with Dive Time Recovery found the cat after officers with the sheriff’s department called on him to recover the boat. He said they had to cut away back of the boat’s upholstery to get to where she was trapped.

“The cat was trapped, hungry, wet and scared,” Zucalla said in an interview with the website. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I’ve never found a live animal on a sunken boat. She was down there for an hour. It’s miraculous that she survived.”

Zucalla believed River stowed away on the boat before it left port last Saturday and survived by using small pockets of air inside the vessel. It is not known whether or not River has owners; Zucella contacted Genaro Rudaldava, the boat’s owner, who said his family does not own a cat.

“It was one of those old-style power boats, with a big compartment in the front end,” Zucalla said in an interview with the website. “You pack your cooler and all of your supplies into the front end. The cat could have climbed in and gotten trapped there when (Rudaldava) left from Orange County, California on Friday or Saturday. This is a miracle — that we were on the lake when the Sheriff’s Department called us, and we found the wreck in time.”

Officials took the cat to the Western Arizona Humane Society, where she was given her unique name and cared for.

“When she first came in, she was very scared,” Tasha Draper, an employee with the Humane Society, said. “Now she’s started to open up. She got very lucky.”

Humane society officials said River was not microchipped, but her owners have up to five days to claim her before she will be put up for adoption.