MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – Some good Samaritans came to the rescue of a large leatherback turtle stuck on a sandbar in Murrells Inlet.
According to posts on the South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts' (S.C.U.T.E.) Facebook page, the rescue happened on Saturday, May 13 after a local resident called and reported the turtle caught on the sandbar.
Members of the group contacted the Sea Turtle Care Center in Charleston to get further instructions. A member of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was also involved in the rescue, according to S.C.U.T.E.
Georgetown County Councilman John Thomas, who has served as a turtle patroller with S.C.U.T.E., said no one was really sure why it was stuck in the pluff mud.
He added the turtle had something coming out of its eyes and the theory was it went on the sandbar to rub its eyes and got caught in the mud.
According to the S.C.U.T.E. Facebook page, rescuers freed the turtle's flippers and checked it for tags. The tide began to rise, and the sea creature started to free itself as more water came in.
Rescuers were able to assist the turtle through the mud to the deep water. Thomas said it then headed toward the jetty.
"We sort of waved goodbye to it and assumed it got back out to sea," Thomas said. "It was just an exciting thing to go through. Everyone felt really good about it in the end."