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Cordele teens rescue drowning sea turtle

By BECKY CRISSMAN

becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CARRABELLE — A regular day of fishing turned into a rescue mission for two Cordele teens while in Florida.

Will Mercer with sea turtle just before he was released back into the water.

Will Mercer with sea turtle just before he was released back into the water.

Long-time friends and avid fishermen, Aaron Titshaw and Will Mercer, both 16-years old, have been enjoying some salt water fishing in Carrabelle, Florida. On Sunday the duo was finishing up the day fishing off Dog Island when they noticed something unusual in the water.

“The water was shallow and my right I saw something sticking out of the water that just seemed odd,” said Titshaw. “Don’t know why, but we decided to turn around and investigate.”

What the boys found was heart breaking. A Green Sea Turtle had become ensnared in crab trap and the fishing wire attached was wound repeatedly around the creature’s body and neck strangling the reptile.

“The fishing line was wrapped around him about 20-30 times,” said Titshaw. “The weight of the crab trap was on his neck. It was all he could do to resurface long enough to get a gasp of air before the trap pulled him back underneath the surface.”

When the duo noticed the creature struggling they sprang into action. They grabbed their pocket knives and cut the line connected to the trap to free the turtle. They pulled him onto the boat and together worked to cute the rest of the line that entangled the turtle. The line was wrapped around his neck and flippers and it took around 7-8 minutes to free him.

“He didn’t put up a fight,” said Mercer. “If we hadn’t come across the turtle, he would have definitely drowned.”

The teens snapped a few pictures and then released the grateful sea turtle back into the water where he swam away as if nothing happened.
Titshaw, who has aspirations of becoming a Marine Biologist said it was a good feeling, knowing they were able to save the turtle from certain death.

“We were just in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Mercer agreed it was fate that routed their course that day.

“We helped save a member of a protected species,” said Mercer. “It is a good feeling. It was also pretty cool because I have never seen one up close before.”

Both boys’ parents say they are proud of their sons for stepping in and helping the turtle.

“They have fished this area for years,” said Teresa Titshaw, Aaron’s mother. “Our families have been friends for many years. They have grown up together. Around here they are the Fish Assassins of the Carrabelle Boat Club.”

Mrs. Titshaw says the guys will fish from sun up until sundown. Both families live in Cordele and the boys attend Crisp Academy together. Aaron is the son of Curt and Teresa Titshaw and Will’s parents are Rob and Cyndi Mercer.

Long-time friends and avid fishermen, Aaron Titshaw and Will Mercer, both 16-years old, have been enjoying some salt water fishing in Carrabelle, Florida. On Sunday the duo was finishing up the day fishing off Dog Island when they noticed something unusual in the water.

“The water was shallow and my right I saw something sticking out of the water that just seemed odd,” said Titshaw. “Don’t know why, but we decided to turn around and investigate.”

What the boys found was heart breaking. A Green Sea Turtle had become ensnared in crab trap and the fishing wire attached was wound repeatedly around the creature’s body and neck strangling the reptile.

“The fishing line was wrapped around him about 20-30 times,” said Titshaw. “The weight of the crab trap was on his neck. It was all he could do to resurface long enough to get a gasp of air before the trap pulled him back underneath the surface.”

When the duo noticed the creature struggling they sprang into action. They grabbed their pocket knives and cut the line connected to the trap to free the turtle. They pulled him onto the boat and together worked to cute the rest of the line that entangled the turtle. The line was wrapped around his neck and flippers and it took around 7-8 minutes to free him.

“He didn’t put up a fight,” said Mercer. “If we hadn’t come across the turtle, he would have definitely drowned.”

The teens snapped a few pictures and then released the grateful sea turtle back into the water where he swam away as if nothing happened.
Titshaw, who has aspirations of becoming a Marine Biologist said it was a good feeling, knowing they were able to save the turtle from certain death.

“We were just in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Mercer agreed it was fate that routed their course that day.

“We helped save a member of a protected species,” said Mercer. “It is a good feeling. It was also pretty cool because I have never seen one up close before.”

Both boys’ parents say they are proud of their sons for stepping in and helping the turtle.

“They have fished this area for years,” said Teresa Titshaw, Aaron’s mother. “Our families have been friends for many years. They have grown up together. Around here they are the Fish Assassins of the Carrabelle Boat Club.”

Mrs. Titshaw says the guys will fish from sun up until sundown. Both families live in Cordele and the boys attend Crisp Academy together. Aaron is the son of Curt and Teresa Titshaw and Will’s parents are Rob and Cyndi Mercer.