Florida boaters rescue sea turtle entangled in US flag

Three boaters came to the rescue of a struggling sea turtle entangled in a US flag in the waters off the coast of South Florida.

The incident happened Monday night near Virginia Key, south of Miami Beach, when Christian Amor noticed something floating in the water.

"We see what looked like either a manatee coming up for air, some debris, a coconut, something floating up in the water," Amor told WSVN

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Amor said he and his friends Sergio Berben and Eddie Torres got closer, only to realize it was a sea turtle in trouble and 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," he said.

Torres began recording video as the other two jumped into action, with Amor trying to hold the turtle steady while Berben attempted to set it free by using a knife to cut the flag off.

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"I’m holding him as steady as I can, and the turtle is freaking out in the meantime," Amor recalled to WSVN. "Sergio goes quick to the back, cuts the flag off, and he swam away happy as can be." 

He said he was glad they were in the right place at the right time, but hopes this shows how debris in the water can harm animals.

"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, ‘Oh, whatever,’" Amor said. "I would like to think it was an accident, but it was still in one piece, so I’m not 100% sure."