It is being called a “desperate rescue mission” today after a handful of citizens banded together in an attempt to save a couple of stranded manatees as Hurricane Irma was barreling toward them in Florida. Irma’s pending arrival was announced when the water in Sarasota Bay was “sucked out to sea,” leaving the manatees on the exposed ocean floor.
Hurricane Irma brought with it a phenomenon that is usually equated with a tsunami. This hurricane seemingly sucked all the water out to sea, leaving a dry ocean floor along the shoreline for as far as the eye could see in some areas in Florida. The water suddenly being pushed out to sea left the ocean floor exposed, and sea creatures littered the shoreline after the water was literally washed out from underneath them.
According to the Mirror, “Scientists say Irma is so strong and air pressure so low that it sucks surrounding water into its core.” One of the several places this happened during Irma was in Sarasota Bay, Florida, which is where these manatees were left stranded.
When Hurricane Irma was still about 200 miles out to sea, the water in the waterways around Sarasota Bay just disappeared, reports Fox News 13. This was a quick event, leaving manatees, also referred to as sea cows, very little time to get to deeper water. Some were stranded in the area where they happened to be swimming at the time the waters receded, leaving the manatees stuck in the mud-like bottom of the exposed ocean floor.
People who had stepped outside to get a look at the dry ocean floor called the scene “surreal. While taking in the sights of this phenomenon, they happened to notice a couple of manatees stranded where there was water just a few minutes ago. These folks banded together to save the two manatees that were stuck on the exposed ocean floor by embarking on a dangerous rescue effort. When the water is sucked out to sea, whether it be during a tsunami or due to a wind event like Hurricane Irma, the water eventually comes back and it can come rushing in at any time.
One of the manatees appeared to be dead, but the other one was visibly breathing, according to Fox & Friends on Monday morning. This group first tried to roll one of the manatees, but it wouldn’t budge. Even though the other manatee appeared to be dead, these folks took a chance that water might revive the creature, so they wanted to get both to a nearby water channel.
According to Fox News 13, the group couldn’t budge the Manatees that weighed an estimated 500 pounds each and they called local law enforcement officials for help. The manatees were not only too heavy to move, they were also anchored in a “mud-like sand,” wrote Steven Reisinger, who posted the details of the harrowing rescue to his Facebook page.
Police officers joined in on the rescue, which consisted of a “handful of people,” writes Marcelo Clavijo on his Facebook page, who was the first to spot the manatees. They rolled the manatees in tarps and dragged them to a channel about 100 yards away and released the sea creatures. The two once stranded sea creatures swam off to deeper water and the rescue was a complete success.
Once the manatees were brought to the water and released, the officers ordered everyone off the beach and inside for their own safety with the hurricane barreling down on the area, reports Fox News Local 13. Not to mention that displaced water, that was actually pushed out to sea by the winds, was bound to come rolling back in and with the good Samaritan rescuers standing on the ocean bottom, they needed to get to safety.
[Featured Image by Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock]