Community rallies to rescue manatees stranded by Irma

East County's Nina Toby James and Noah Klepek gather their belongings before entering an emergency shelter at Carlos E. Haile Middle School

Community rallies to rescue manatees stranded by Irma

The manatees beached in Sarasota and other parts of Florida along Irma's path suffered from an unusual phenomenon in which water was pulled away from typically submerged shores while areas above sea level suffered flooding.

As Hurricane Irma charged up Florida's west coast Sunday afternoon, it sucked up water along the way, draining waterways and bays.

One of the stranded manatees was found in shallow pools of water in Sarasota Bay.

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Michael Sechler, who shared images of the beached animals on Facebook, said he noticed them suffering while he and a group of friends were driving near the bay in Manatee County.

"When the tide comes back in, we do have concerns of manatees ending up in areas where they naturally wouldn't", Gordon said, adding that she doesn't think the manatees will be injured. "We gave them as much water as we could, hoping the rain and storm surge come soon enough to save them", Sechler wrote.

A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter
A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter

"By this time, people should have already completed most of their preparations and gotten out of the way", said Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane.

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Marcelo Clavijo posted video and photos on Facebook describing the scene.

"We're not actually intervening at this point", Gordon told the local newspaper Bradenton Herald.

"Believe me, we tried to move them", Sechler wrote. "But between [the manatees] weighing over 500lbs and being stranded in nearly mud-like sand, we couldn't make it happen." .

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