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Florida deputies rescue ‘lost’ sea turtle hatchlings wandering hotel grounds

Florida deputies responded to an early morning call after a group of “very lost” sea turtle hatchlings were discovered wandering around a beach hotel, authorities said.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mackesy, Deputy Lopez and Deputy Wheeler were called to the hotel in St. Pete Beach after a concerned security guard gathered 15 hatchlings and required backup to collect the numerous others, the sheriff’s office said.

When the deputies arrived, the baby sea turtles had spread over the hotel property to areas that included the pool, the bushes, a bathroom and a storm drain.

Mackesy called the on-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Commission officer to learn how to assist the hatchlings with their maiden voyage. 

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The officer instructed the deputies to release the turtles at the ocean’s edge and let them go towards the water on their own.

The three deputies can be seen on bodycam video releasing the sea turtle hatchlings on the shoreline and shining a flashlight into the water to help give the fledgling swimmers a helping hand.

“With some words of encouragement and guidance all the hatchlings made their way to the water successfully,” the sheriff’s office said. “We think Finding Nemo’s pal Crush would be pretty proud of this crew and the deputies too!”

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