A pair of bald eagles -- their talons locked together in battle -- were rescued from a frigid river on Vancouver Island recently after passersby happened to notice the struggling raptors.

The two eagles were found shivering in the Campbell River, near where the river flows into the Pacific Ocean, when Brenda Hancock walked by and spotted them in obvious distress.

"I had a stick with me but there wasn't anything I could do because they were too far out," Hancock told CTV British Columbia.

Instead, she quickly sought help from Ed and Jo Ivanisko, whose home is situated on the banks of the river, and the couple sprang into action. Ed donned his chest waders and gloves, while Jo called Mountainaire Avian Rescue, located in Comox, B.C., about 45 minutes away.

But after seeing the birds' condition, Ed knew the eagles wouldn't survive if he didn't act immediately. So he waded into the frigid water himself and began working to untangle the birds' talons.

“They were very cold, they were shivering. You could see that one bird was way colder than the other although they were both in distress,” Jo said.

Ed managed to free the hypothermic birds, who were too exhausted to fly away. One of the eagles could barely move and was easily captured by the Ivaniscos, while the other managed to make it into the middle of the river before collapsing in the water.

Meanwhile, another eagle began dive-bombing the hypothermic bird as it struggled toward shore.

This time, Ed climbed into a canoe and paddled into the river, where he was eventually able to retrieve the eagle.

The birds were then taken to the Mountainaire Avian Rescue centre, where they were nursed, fed and allowed to rest and recover from their chilly ordeal.

"We arrived at just the right time to save those birds," Jo said.

The very next day the eagles were released back into the wild, something Jo described as "awesome."