This footage shows how a vulnerable loggerhead sea turtle that had got itself tangled in a piece of fishing net was saved by rescue workers with the help of a drone.
The rescue was carried out in waters off Guardamar del Segura in Spain’s eastern Valencia region on an unspecified recent date.
The Guardamar del Segura rescue team had spotted a strange object floating around 500 feet from the shore.
The team used a drone from the Generalitat Valenciana – the Valencian autonomous government – to investigate the item and found it was a turtle in trouble.
Footage shows how two rescue workers arrive on the scene on a speedboat. One can be seen jumping into the sea and collecting the beleaguered reptile.
Vets from L’Oceanografic – an oceanarium in the city of Valencia – gave the turtle a checkup before transferring it to the Arca del Mar rehabilitation centre.
At the time of reporting, it was recovering from serious injuries to its neck and front legs with a view to later being returned to the sea.
The Generalitat Valenciana is using drones as part of its ‘Platges Segures’ (Safe Beaches) campaign to help prevent drownings.
In a statement obtained by Newsflash on 6th September, the Generalitat Valenciana said: “A drone from the Generalitat has saved an endangered loggerhead sea turtle. The rescue took place recently on Guardamar beach, thanks to one of the unmanned aircraft deployed this summer by the Generalitat Valenciana to strengthen surveillance and prevention work on the beaches of the Valencian Community as part of the Platges Segures campaign.
“Drones are a very useful tool for the rapid detection and analysis of emergencies at sea. For this reason, this year the Generalitat has expanded the prevention and rescue service with unmanned aircraft, deploying it in 20 Valencian municipalities, twice as many as the previous year.
“The Guardamar rescue team spotted a strange lump floating 150 metres from the shore and upon dispatching the aircraft it was found to be a sea turtle caught in an abandoned fishing net. From the same drone, a warning was sent to the rescue teams of the municipality, and the animal was quickly rescued.
“After being examined by the Oceanografic veterinarians, the turtle was then transferred to the ‘Arca de la Mar’ rehabilitation centre. Although it is progressing favourably, before returning to the sea it will have to recover from the serious damage to its neck and front legs caused by the net.”
The statement continued: “For this summer campaign, the Generalitat has doubled the number of first aid and rescue drones for this pioneering project in Spain. A total of twenty localities have unmanned aircraft that coordinate with the lifeguard and rescue services of each beach to carry out surveillance support tasks in the swimming area and launch floats to bathers in risky situations.
“This service operates in six municipalities in the province of Castello (Borriana, Vinaros, Peniscola, Moncofa, Alcala de Xivert and Oropesa), in six localities in Valencia (Cullera, Gandia, La Pobla de Farnals, Miramar, Piles and Alboraia), and eight beaches in the province of Alicante (Altea, Benidorm, Denia, Orihuela, Santa Pola, Xabia, Guardamar del Segura and El Campello).”
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is a species of oceanic turtle found throughout the world.
It is categorised as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning that it is threatened with extinction unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.