The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Coast Guardsmen Were Investigating a Suspicious Item Floating in a Known Drug Transit Zone: Ended Up Rescuing Two Large Sea Turtles Entangled in Fishing Line

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Coast Guardsmen Were Investigating a Suspicious Item Floating in a Known Drug Transit Zone: Ended Up Rescuing Two Large Sea Turtles Entangled in Fishing Line

Coast Guardsmen aboard the Cutter Stratton from Alameda, Calif. who were investigating a suspicious item floating in a known drug transit zone off the coast of Central America last month instead made a unique rescue.

Video released by the Coast Guard shows that instead of drugs, the crew found two large sea turtles entangled in fishing line and makeshift buoys.

"There was no question what we had to do," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Hylan Rousseau, the coxswain of Stratton's interceptor boat. "And no one spoke a word. We immediately moved in to rescue mode."

An officer-mounted camera captured the rescue operation. One of the turtles had line wrapped around its neck, which restricted its airway and caused apparent respiratory distress.

"We cut the first turtle free without much incident," said Chief Petty Officer Brian Milcetich, a member of the law enforcement team. "While we were freeing him, we could see the second, and much larger turtle, was quite literally choking to death. He had been trying so hard to free himself from the fishing line that he had cinched the line around his own neck."

After lifting the approximately 70-pound turtle aboard the boat, officers used a specialized pair of sheers normally used by emergency medical technicians to sever the line. The video shows the turtle spew out water and take a deep breath once the line was removed from its neck.

"Everyone was elated," said Milcetich. "As you see in the video, he (the turtle) didn't stick around to celebrate."

The second turtle jumped back into water and swam away.

"It's another perfect example of the Coast Guard's ability to quickly adapt to different missions," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jerry Renfroe.

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