It's not every day an 800-pound sea turtle needs a hand. But that's exactly what one stranded leatherback turtle required after the reptile became entangled in a fishing net.
After a recreational fishing boat spotted the trapped turtle off the coast of New Jersey, boaters alerted the U.S. Coast Guard and provided the animal's location, The Associated Press reports. Members of the Coast Guard near Atlantic City were dispatched to rescue the giant marine animal on Saturday.
In a video captured by one of the crew members (see above), Coast Guard officers can be seen working together to disentangle the turtle.
"It was one of my better experiences being in the Coast Guard, just seeing the animal so close and helping marine life," Petty Officer Second Class Nick Giannaris, who helped remove the turtle from the fishing gear, said in a statement. "Everyone was pretty energized about the whole experience."
Leatherback sea turtles are the largest species of living turtle and are among the most massive reptiles in the world. Fully grown adults can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes.
While the species is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, leatherbacks are listed as endangered under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act. Fishing gear and other marine debris are persistent problems for sea turtles that feed along the coast.