Crew workers free manatee with life jacket stuck around its torso

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In a Fort Lauderdale, Florida waterway crew workers freed a manatee with a life jacket stuck around its torso on Wednesday afternoon. According to the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Facebook, the manatee had been swimming in the Intracoastal Waterway in the area of the 700 block of Bayshore Drive since mid morning.


A video showed the manatee swimming with the orange vest, but when a diver slowly approached to try and remove the jacket, the manatee panicked and dove down deeper into the water. The animal’s tail accidentally struck one of the divers.

“We’ve made contact with the manatee,” Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Greg May stated during the rescue, “and we put firefighters in the water. We almost had it off but unfortunately the manatee, they’re very strong and the tail hit one of our firefighters and we had to stop doing that operation.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offices arrived in the afternoon to aid the firemen and were able, with the help of eight people, get the sea cow on shore and cut away the life jacket. The manatee was freed and happily swam away.

This particular manatee appeared to be about eight feet long and was estimated to  be eight hundred to one thousand pounds. No one knows how he ended up wearing a bright orange life jacket, but he surely doesn’t need one.  Sadly however, ocean pollution is a real problem to our sea life. Not all rescues have happy endings. At least this one did!

Check out the video:

**Manatee in Distress** Fireboat 49 is assisting in a manatee rescue. The manatee has a life jacket wrapped around its torso. #FLFR PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

Posted by Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue on Wednesday, January 24, 2018


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5 replies
  1. Adrienne says:

    Thanks to all the wonderful people who saved this manatee and continued working until this majestic animal was able to swim away safely. These are the people who make America great.

  2. Nancy Raymond says:

    This is all due to HUMANS discarding their damn garbage in waterways – people like this are so self centered and inconsiderate of the harm they do to other species – they just throw crap overboard with no thought whatsoever to the harm they are causing – the waterways are NOT garbage cans. A HUGE THANK YOU to all who saved this manatee from certain death. You saved a life.

  3. Tonya says:

    I don’t think anyone would intentionally thrown a life jacket overboard or just discard ad trash. Maybe they should be looking for boat wrecks or accidents. Maybe someone’s boat turned over or sank.
    I am very grateful for the people that rescued this sweet (sea cow) manatee.


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