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Aircraft carrier saves trapped sea turtle

By By Matt Knight
Published On: Nov 11 2013 12:38:01 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 11 2013 02:32:24 PM CST
Soldiers rescue sea turtle

WTKR/U.S. Navy

NORFOLK, Va. (WTKR) -

Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman rescued a sea turtle that was tangled in a makeshift fishing net last week.

"They called away, 'man the port davit,' because a lookout saw some containers attached to a net in the water, and there was a sea turtle trapped in it," said Lt. j.g. Lillian Bean, who served as the boat officer for the rigid-hull inflatable boat used in the rescue.

Seaman Madison Allen said the turtle was tangled in a makeshift fishing net built out of jugs, metal wire, hooks and netting.

"The netting and wire were wrapped around the turtle's fin," Allen said. "People put these types of traps together to catch fish, and the turtle ended up getting caught."

A lookout noticed the jugs start bobbing up and down in the water on Nov. 7, signaling something had been caught.

"He looked tired and stressed," Bean said of the turtle. "I really wanted to save this turtle and not leave him out there."

Bean said they couldn't put anyone in the water because of the size of the turtle, how tangled it was and the potential hazard to a rescue swimmer, so they used a boat hook to pull the entangled turtle closer to the side of the inflatable boat so they could work on freeing it.

The turtle didn't make it easy, but eventually was able to swim free.

"In the Navy, we always strive to be good stewards of the environment," commanding officer Capt. Bob Roth said. "As professional mariners, we are obligated and take great pride in helping those fellow mariners in need. ... The smiles and excitement of the boat crew after they returned to the carrier were infectious, it was an uplifting experience."

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