An angry male swan attacked and overturned a canoe filled with city park officials who were trying to rescue a female swan that was choking on a fishhook, officials said Friday.

"We nearly lost three lives yesterday trying to salvage that swan," said Bend Metro Parks and Recreation Director Vince Genna.The swan continued pecking the three men Thursday after they fell in the water and swam to shore, but no one was injured.

Genna said the male swan was captured and caged after the incident. The female was captured Friday, the hook removed, and both were set free. Genna said the swans were mates and noted that swans "mate for life."

"When they are looking for a nesting place, they get meaner than all heck," the park official said.

Businessman John Braun witnessed the incident Thursday on a lake formed by the Deschutes River in downtown Bend. He said three parks and recreation officials in a canoe were trying to rescue the female swan that had been hooked by a boy using a baited line.

The swan had broken the line and was swimming away from her rescuers. But as the canoe advanced into the park's pond, a "very large, angry male swan" swam up to the boat and began attacking the man in the bow, Braun said.

"The man started to move in the canoe, and in 15 seconds, they were in the water."