Lifeguards in California are called to rescue humans usually but in San Clemente, the lifeguards work involved freeing a green sea turtle.
A bystander by the San Clemente pier noticed a turtle in distress after it as accidentally hooked by an angler off the pier.
San Clemente Marine Safety Officer Ian Burton said the bystander alerted the tower guard of the incident on the south side of the pier, and lifeguards responded with a collapsible lobster hoop net to pull the estimated 3-foot-long turtle up from the water.
“We managed to get the turtle to swim inside there, hoisted him up onto the pier,” Burton said. “Three or four guys did as best as they could to get the line and hook out of the turtle’s mouth.”
They were able to get most of the hook out of the turtle’s mouth, then lowered the turtle back into the ocean.
“As soon as he hit the water, he took off,” he said.
The incident showcases the diversity of what lifeguards deal with in the ocean.
“It just adds to the enjoyment of the job, you never know what you’re going to be tasked with,” Burton said. “It’s definitely not something they cover in lifeguard training, that’s for sure.”
The turtle rescued over the weekend is likely an older one based on the shell patterns which fade as turtles age.