Coast Guard members saved a distressed sea turtle from a certain fate Thursday afternoon off the coast of New Jersey.
According to a news release, the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay command center received a call from the Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center requesting assistance for the sea turtle entangled in a fishing trap line 11 miles southeast of Cape May.
The Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater, an 87-foot patrol boat, responded and located the turtle. But there was a major wrinkle.
While coordinating a rescue with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, the Coast Guard crew had to quickly move into action when they spotted sharks encircling the sea turtle, the release said.
The Shearwater crew launched a team aboard the ship’s small boat, and they began to circle the ailing turtle under the sharks dispersed. When it was safe, the crew cautiously approached the sea turtle and cut it free.
“This was the proudest day I’ve had on this cutter,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Anthony Martinez, Officer in Charge of the Shearwater. “Everybody on the crew rallied around and worked together, and we were able to save that turtle.”