Coast Guard, National Park Service rescue sea turtles along Outer Banks, NC beaches

Sea turtles recover aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cushing after suffering cold shock Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, along the Outer Banks. The Cushing crew assisted the rescue of 217 sea turtles on beaches along the Outer Banks of North Carolina and returned them to the sea. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cushing)

Sea turtles recover aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cushing after suffering cold shock Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, along the Outer Banks.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cushing)

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. — The Coast Guard assisted in rescuing 217 sea turtles Thursday with National Park Service personnel off beaches along the Outer Banks.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cushing watchstanders were notified at 11 a.m. Thursday by National Park Service personnel 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 crew of the cutter Cushing broke into three groups: The first remained aboard the Cushing to receive the turtles, the second group to oversee the evolution and the third to retrieve the turtles from the beaches.

The crew from the cutter Cushing transported turtles off beaches along the Outer Banks, worked with National Park Service personnel to measure and record the turtles and brought them aboard the Cushing.

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.”

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