Though Hurricane Irma was still 100 miles away from Tampa on Sunday, it had already pulled away most of the water from waterways and bays, leaving them pitifully drained. Unexpectedly, two huge mammals were found stuck helplessly in Sarasota Bay, but luckily they were discovered and rescued in the nick of time.
On Sunday, Floridian Marcelo Clavijo went for a ride and unexpectedly stumbled upon two manatees stranded in knee-deep mud on a drained bay, just north of Sarasota.
“So we went for a ride and ended up saving two manatees,” Clavijo wrote in a Facebook post.
He teamed up with a few local residents as well as law enforcement officials to help rescue the stranded manatees, sending them back to the water.
“One wasn’t moving, the other was breathing and had water in its eyes. My friends and I couldn’t move these massive animals ourselves, and we called every service we could think of, but no one answered. We gave them as much water as we could, hoping the rain and storm surge come soon enough to save them,” wrote Michael Sechler on Facebook.
Sechler was one of the very first residents who spotted the stranded manatees.
They rolled the manatees onto a large green tarp and then dragged them 100 yards into safe waters.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” shared Clavijo.
The two manatees “swam off” once they were carried back to deeper waters, Clavijo told Fox 13.