Manatees Rescued After Irma Leaves Them High And Dry In Sarasota Bay

East County's Nina Toby James and Noah Klepek gather their belongings before entering an emergency shelter at Carlos E. Haile Middle School

Manatees Rescued After Irma Leaves Them High And Dry In Sarasota Bay

Rescue a few manatees, naturally.

Hurricane Irma pulled water from Sarasota Bay, leaving the two manatees stuck in mud knee-deep with nowhere to go.

Intrigued, Marcelo Clavijo and several friends went out for a drive to take in the odd sight of an empty bay.

Strangers banded together to help two manatees stranded by Hurricane Irma.

"It was a pretty cool experience", Clavijo wrote.

Marcelo Clavijo posted that a group of people eventually loaded the manatees onto tarps and were able to drag them to deeper water.

Dave Bristow, a public information officer for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, tells NPR that it was "a bit of a lull" for law enforcement as the department waited for the hurricane to arrive.

A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter
A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter

He said he was getting "stir insane", so he went for a ride to check out the bay near Whitfield. "It's not like you can nudge these guys over".

"One wasn't moving, the other was breathing and had water in its eyes", Sechler said in a Facebook post.

The group then tried to help the animals, but the sheer size made it impossible to move them.

He said, "We don't want anybody to risk their lives; they were trying to do the right thing but it's not worth it".

An official with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission said the organization received multiple reports about the stranded manatees.

Normally a safe place for manatees to float, several sea cows were left stranded before they knew what was happening.

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