Miramar Beach lifeguard Jack Nabers was on duty last Sunday when he noticed an animal flopping around in the water about 300 feet from the shoreline around 3:30 in the afternoon.
“I was sitting there in my tower watching and I kept seeing this thing,” Jack recalled, according to Southern Living. “I couldn’t tell what it was, but it would come up on the surface. It was flipping it’s little flippers around and then it would go back down, and I kept seeing it do it.”
With the marine animal being so far away, he pulled out his binoculars to zoom in on the creature and realized it was a very large sea turtle that appeared to be entangled in a fishing line. Jack let his supervisor know what he was about to do and swam out to where the turtle was.
“I put my goggles on and stuck my head in the water and it was literally just lying on the sea floor caught in all the lines,” he said. “I was like ‘This is so sad.'”
Jack said once he got out there he saw that turtle was not only tangled in a fishing line, but attached to that was the hook, sinker, and the entire fishing pole!
Realizing the serious danger the turtle was in, he and few bystanders helped move the turtle closer to the beach where Jack used a tool from his medical kit to untangling the sea turtle.
Within a matter of minutes, he was able to free it from its entanglement and then he checked the turtle to make sure it was all good otherwise. After a quick look, the turtle appeared to be okay so he let it go and it happily swam back out to sea.
“Especially to see an animal like that was probably pretty old because it was a big one,” he explained. “It was almost like it was ‘Thank you’ and it swam off. It was pretty cool. It was a feeling like I’ve never felt.”
After the rescue, South Walton Fire District asked all beachgoers to make sure they threw their trash away to make sure a situation like this didn’t happen again.
“It’s so easy to just go throw your trash away and just leave your footprints in the sand,” Jack said. “That’s about all you should be leaving. Pick up your trash, please. That was extremely sad to see. It’s so important and it’s so easy to do.”