Manatees left high and dry by Irma rescued

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

Two manatees were rescued by Good Samaritans on Sunday after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of a Florida bay and caused them to become stranded on dry land.

And on the island, where Irma made its second landfall of the day - dumping heavy rains and bringing a storm surge ashore - a catfish was seen swimming down a street.

A full-grown manatee can weigh in the neighborhood of 1,000 pounds, so moving one is no small task. "My friends and I couldn't move these massive animals ourselves, and we called every service we could think of, but no one answered", witness Michael Sechler wrote in an Instagram post with a photo of the stranded manatees.

After becoming restless, Marcelo Clavijo checked out the bay near Whitfield where he noticed the manatees on the flats.

Clavejo said the rescue was a "pretty cool experience" and he was happy to rescue two of "manatees finest".

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

So the group rolled the creatures onto tarps, dragging them a hundred yards, according to the person who posted the video and pictures online.

Yet "we couldn't just let those manatees die out there", Tony Faradini-Campos tells the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

"Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times", Gordon said, adding that females can beach themselves during mating season for a break.

"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.

"It shows what people can do when they come together".

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