Sunday 17 December 2017

Pack your trunks: elephant rescued 10 miles out to sea

The elephant is rescued 10 miles off the Sri Lankan shore. Photo: Getty Images
The elephant is rescued 10 miles off the Sri Lankan shore. Photo: Getty Images Newsdesk and other agencies

An elephant has been rescued after it was found swimming almost 10 miles off the coast of Sri Lanka.

The creature had been dragged into the open sea by a current, the country's navy said in a statement.

One of its fast attack craft found the distressed animal during a routine patrol, the force said.

It added that a second craft and a team of divers were then dispatched to the sea off Kokkuthuduwai, Kokilai.

A team of rescue divers - one of whom climbed on to the elephant's back in the water - attached ropes to the animal.

They were then used by boats to guide the pachyderm back to shore, the navy said.

"A group of officials from the department of wildlife also joined this humongous task providing necessary instruction which became extremely vital in the rescue mission," it said in a statement.

"Accordingly, they were able to carefully direct the elephant towards the coast from the deep sea, by means of ropes.

"Having safely guided the elephant to the Yan Oya area in Pulmodai, the animal was handed over to the wildlife officials for onward action."

Avinash Krishnan, of conservation group A Rocha, said: "Swimming about 15km from the shore is not unusual for an elephant.

"[But] they can't keep swimming for long because they burn a lot of energy."

The animal was submerged for almost the entire journey back to shore, but could be seen stretching its trunk above the surface to breathe during the dramatic rescue.

Irish Independent

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