A leatherback sea turtle that had become entangled in a crab trap was rescued off Clearwater Pass Friday.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium rescuers teamed up with Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies to help the turtle, which was found about a mile and a half west of Clearwater.
The trap's rope was looped around the sea turtle's neck, and the buoy was still attached to the trap. As a result, whenever the turtle tried to dive, the rope tightened around its neck.
The turtle's right front flipper was also tangled in the trap.
Rescuers were able to disentangle the turtle from the crab trap while keeping the turtle in the water. The team assessed the animal's health, estimated its length and weight, then released it.
Officials say leatherback sea turtles are the largest of all living turtles, and the one that was rescued Friday weighed between 400 and 500 pounds.
Anyone who sees a sea turtle or any marine life that appears to be in distress is asked to immediately call the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Emergency Stranding Hotline at 727-441-1790 Ext. 1.