A bald eagle that was trapped is free to fly thanks to the kindness of two New Brunswick men.

Sterling Drost came upon the eagle last Saturday while he was out with a friend in a wooded area near Ludlow, N.B.

“He went on one side. I went on the other, and that’s when I discovered the eagle in the trap,” says Drost.

He says, at that point, he didn’t realize the eagle had been trapped and was in distress.

“Big wings coming up on my face, about a seven-foot wingspan, and then it fell back down into the water, which is what shocked me, and then he said ‘it’s injured, it’s injured,” explains Drost.

He quickly realized the eagle’s leg was attached to some sort of trap and together he and his friend, Rod Lyons, worked to free the bird.

Lyons worked to free the eagle from the wires while Drost worked to keep the bird under control. In about two minutes, it was set free.

“It would have been dead. Wouldn’t have been long and it would have been dead,” says Drost.

The New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources wouldn’t comment on the encounter, but says anyone who sees a wild animal in distress should call them first.

“Even though it may look docile, cute and cuddly, they’re still wild,” says DNR spokesperson Jonathan Cormier. “They’re not used to human contact and there’s the possibility of being bitten, scratched or seriously injured.”

“I guess I’m not smart enough to be scared,” says Drost.

He says he will always remember the eagle encounter, mostly for what the eagle did after flying away.

“It stopped about 20 feet away from us and got on a rock and looked at us and those eyes were looking right through you and I think he was saying, ‘thank you.’”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore