DhakaTribune
Monday December 18, 2017 03:08 PM

Watch: How Lankan navy rescues drowning elephants from mid sea

  • Published at 08:06 PM July 25, 2017

In what the Sri Lankan navy called a "mammoth effort," divers and a flotilla of boats labored for five hours to rescue two young elephants that had been swept out to sea off the Trincomalee coast of the island nation.

Two young elephants washed out to sea were saved from drowning Sunday by the Sri Lankan navy in the second such incident off the island in as many weeks.

The navy said the pair of wild elephants were brought ashore after a “mammoth effort” involving navy divers, ropes and a flotilla of boats to tow them back to shallow waters.

In this handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 23, 2017, elephants spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep water swim as they are guided by Sri Lankan navel personnel back to shore a kilometre off the island's northeast coast AFP

In this handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 23, 2017, elephants spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep water swim as they are guided by Sri Lankan navel personnel back to shore a kilometre off the island’s northeast coast AFP

Photos showed the elephants in distress, barely keeping their trunks above water in the deep seas about 1km off the coast of Sri Lanka.

“Having safely guided the two elephants to the shore, they were subsequently released to the Foul Point jungle (in Trincomalee district),” the navy said in a statement.

“They were extremely lucky to have been spotted by a patrol craft which called in several other boats to help with the rescue.”

In this handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 23, 2017, Sri Lankan naval personnel help guide elephants that were spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep water back to shore a kilometre off the island's northeast coast AFP

In this handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 23, 2017, Sri Lankan naval personnel help guide elephants that were spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep water back to shore a kilometre off the island’s northeast coast AFP

Two weeks ago, the navy mounted a similar operation in the same region to save a lone elephant washed 8km off the Sri Lankan coast into the deep waters of the Indian Ocean.

Navy officials say the animals were likely swept out while crossing shallow lagoons in the region.

They are not the only wildlife to encounter trouble in the biodiverse island.

In this handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 23, 2017, Sri Lankan naval personnel help guide elephants that were spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep water back to shore a kilometre off the island's northeast coast AFP

In this handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy on July 23, 2017, Sri Lankan naval personnel help guide elephants that were spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep water back to shore a kilometre off the island’s northeast coast AFP

In May, the navy and local residents saved a pod of 20 pilot whales that became stranded in Trincomalee, a natural harbour that is popular for whale watching.

The waters around Trincomalee, which were used by Allied forces as a staging post during World War II, have a high concentration of blue and sperm whales, while the surrounding jungles have herds of wild elephants.

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