AFTER an epic swim which brought her thousands of miles from home and within minutes of death, Leona the loggerhead turtle finally flew back to warmer waters.
The turtle, which was found washed up in Co Clare last year, was close to death but was slowly nursed back to health at the Galway Atlantaquaria.
For months now her carers have been desperately trying to get Leona home, but were finding it impossible to secure a warm flight back.
But after an appeal for assistance, Aer Lingus came to her aid, offering her a seat on Row 2 of their commercial flight back to Gran Canaria and warmer climes.
The turtle and her carers travelled to Dublin airport today to fly Leona home.
“We will miss her but we’re just so happy that she’s going home.
“We’ll stay with her for a few days to get her settled in and hopefully we’ll see her released back into the water before we leave,” said Joanne Casserly, who has cared for Leona for the past year.
However, those who have followed her progress to date won’t be left wondering about her future.
A tracking device will follow the turtle, for the next 17 months.
“We have no idea where she might go and it will be amazing to watch her. We just hope she doesn’t come back to Ireland,” added Joanne.