ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. -- The Coast Guard, alongside the National Park Service, assisted in rescuing hundreds of sea turtles Thursday off beaches along the Outer Banks.
National Park Service personnel notified the U.S. Coast Guard officials at 11 am. Thursday that assistance was needed in transporting cold-shocked sea turtles to warmer waters. The beached species included Loggerhead, Green and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Cushing crew broke into three groups as a strategy for the rescue. The first remained aboard the Cushing to receive the turtles, the second group oversaw the evolution and the third group retrieved the turtles from the beaches.
The healthiest turtles, 217 in all, were released back into warmer waters.
"Not every day you get a chance to rescue sea turtles in extreme, hypothermic conditions," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Reisener, a crewmember aboard the cutter Cushing. "We were happy to assist the National Park Service and the aquarium in their effort to preserve North Carolina's diverse marine life. Once out to sea, the turtles all swam away in warmer waters and seemed happy."