A romantic marriage proposal for a careless couple on a Hilton Head Island beach on Tuesday ended in the deaths of 60 endangered sea turtle hatchlings.
The man arranged to propose to his now fiancee with 150 luminarias- tea lights in paper bags. At the conclusion of the romantic night on the beach, the couple left the burning candles behind to return to their rental home. Sometime thereafter, approximately sixty baby sea turtles emerged from a nest and were disoriented by the light.
Volunteers from The Sea Turtle Project found a scene of baby sea turtle horror the following morning, with tracks circling the luminarias and sea turtles expired due to exhaustion or “ghost crabs” or having wandered into dunes or nearby backyards. One hatchling was found clinging to life, but is not expected to survive.
Volunteers who monitor the endangered creatures say that this summer has been particularly lethal for sea turtles, who instinctively follow the brightest light- until modern times, the moon reflecting off the ocean. They hope that this incident will raise awareness of the dangers to the species.