Florida Beachgoers Help Lifeguard Save Giant Turtle Tangled in Fishing Gear
“Pick up your trash, please. That was extremely sad to see.”
A Florida lifeguard is being hailed a hero after saving a sea turtle that was tangled in fishing line off Miramar Beach Sunday afternoon.
South Walton Fire District lifeguard Jack Nabers told Northwest Florida Daily News that he noticed an animal flopping around in the water about 100 yards from shore around 3:30 p.m.
"I was sitting there in my tower watching and I kept seeing this thing," Nabers recalled. "I couldn't tell what it was, but it would come up on the surface. It was flipping it's little flippers around and then it would go back down, and I kept seeing it do it."
He took out a pair of binoculars and realized it a very large sea turtle entangled in what appeared to be someone's entire fishing setup—pole, line, hook, and all.
After alerting his supervisor, Nabers paddled out to the struggling turtle.
"I put my goggles on and stuck my head in the water and it was literally just lying on the sea floor caught in all the lines," he told Northwest Florida Daily News. "I was like 'This is so sad.'"
Bystanders helped Nabers move the turtle closer to shore, where, using his medical supplies, he began the work of untangling it. The crowd reportedly cheered as the uninjured turtle swam back out to sea.
Nabers told Northwest Florida Daily News that the experience was "a feeling like I've never felt."
"Especially to see an animal like that that was probably pretty old because it was a big one," he said. "It was almost like it was 'Thank you' and it swam off. It was pretty cool."
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South Walton Fire District called the situation completely avoidable and implored all beach patrons to "leave no trace."
"It's so easy to just go throw your trash away and just leave your footprints in the sand," Nabers told the paper. "That's about all you should be leaving. Pick up your trash, please. That was extremely sad to see. It's so important and it's so easy to do."