Coast Guard assists with sea turtle rescue

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — The Coast Guard is assisting in the rescue and release of approximately 1,500 endangered sea turtles near Panama City Beach in an effort to return the turtles to warmer waters offshore after they became beached by the extreme cold weather recently.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile was contacted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday requesting assistance in the rescue effort. The affected sea turtles were rescued and moved to Gulf Wold Marine Park by several federal, state and local agencies and volunteers for warming treatment.

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Coho, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Panama City and crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Panama City, began transporting the sea turtles from Gulf World to warmer waters approximately 12 miles offshore where the water temperature is above 55 degrees.

Also assisting in the rescue effort are NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Navy, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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