2 men save injured pelican from fishing hook in Sanibel

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. (WSVN) — Two strangers just enjoying a beach day on Sanibel Island came together to help a pelican in pain. The pair used pliers to make the seaside save after they found the bird wrapped in a fishing line and with a hook in its leg.

Cliff Depiano was on vacation with his wife when a beautiful bright day in Sanibel on Thursday quickly turned dark.

“There was a pelican that was just limping around on the beach, and we noticed real quick that he had a big hook stuck in his leg,” Cliff said.

So a stranger, whose name Cliff still does not know, took action first.

“He was a hero because he jumped on him, grabbed by the beak, scratched his face. As you can see in the video, he’s got blood running down,” Cliff said.

Cliff grabbed his pliers.

A fisherman himself, he knew not to rip out what he said was barbed wire, which would have torn apart the bird.

“I didn’t want to do more damage than help. I know the hook will rust out eventually, so I cut the hook in half where it could come out, took all the cable out and stuff where it wouldn’t hinder him any,” Cliff said. “And then we were going to let him go, we noticed there was another hook with a bunch of line on his wing, so we undid all that, and I cut that hook in half.”

And then, the pelican flew away.

Florida Fish and Wildlife says hugging the bird isn’t breaking any laws. As long as the person is rescuing the bird from a fishing line, they’re protected.

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