VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (WSVN) - Three boaters came to the rescue of a turtle entangled in an American flag off the South Florida coast.
Christian Amor said he and his friends Sergio Berben and Eddie Torres spotted the marine reptile in trouble near Virginia Key, Monday night.
“It was so surreal to actually be out there in the moment, like, ‘Oh, my gosh. It’s up to us,'” he said.
Amor, who is from Virginia, said he was visiting South Florida to promote his clothing brand and was out on the water taking some pictures when the trio noticed something floating nearby.
“We see what looked like either a manatee coming up for air, some debris, a coconut, something floating up in the water,” he said.
When it got close enough, the good Samaritans realized it was a sea turtle struggling to survive.
“Its back flipper was stuck between the flagpole and the actual flag itself, and it couldn’t get out, so it was struggling to come up for air,” said Amor.
Knowing they had to act quickly, all three of the men jumped into action.
Video recorded by Torres shows Amor and Berben, seen wearing a blue shirt.
“Eddie goes over and grabs the knife. Sergio is like, ‘Give me the knife,’ [Eddie] hands over the knife. I’m holding him as steady as I can, and the turtle is freaking out in the meantime,” said Amor. “Sergio goes quick to the back, cuts the flag off, and he swam away happy as can be.”
The video of the rescue made a splash on social media.
The good Samaritans said they are happy to help, but the encounter with marine wildlife highlights just how harmful littering Florida’s waters can be.
As for this specific incident, Amor said, he’s tried to give the person responsible the benefit of the doubt.
“What I would like to think is, [the flag] was on a boat, and somehow it got loose, versus someone, you know, maybe it was cracked, and someone just said, ‘Ugh, whatever,’ so I would like to think it was an accident,” he said, “but it was still in one piece, so I’m not 100% sure.”
Amor said he hopes that this interaction sparks some change and gets more people to care about the environment.
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