Strangers join forces to rescue distressed manatee in Venice waterway

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Marine scientists are trying to determine whether red tide is to blame for a manatee found in distress on Sunday.

The manatee was found in the intracoastal waterway near the Venice Avenue boat ramp. Police officers and vacationers jumped in and held the manatee’s head above water to help it breathe, according to Venice city officials.

The good Samaritans assisted until officials from Mote Marine Laboratory and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation arrived. The group safely brought the manatee onto the boat ramp for FWC to transport to its St. Petersburg location for rehabilitation. Officials says it's possible red tide is to blame for the manatee's condition.

Venice police were thankful for the teamwork, according to a post on the city’s Facebook page. City officials wrote, “This was very rewarding…because unfortunately this was a very taxing weekend with several manatee recoveries. Just this weekend alone for the Venice/Nokomis area were five manatee deaths.”