Man dives into ocean to rescue 700-pound sea turtle tangled in kelp

Man Jumps Into Ocean to Save 700-Pound Sea Turtle Being Choked By Kelp
Man Jumps Into Ocean to Save 700-Pound Sea Turtle Being Choked By Kelp

A leatherback sea turtle once again swims freely thanks to one man's quick thinking.

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Jason Kunewa, a native Hawaiian living in California, said he was about 15 miles off shore with Captain Bo Daniel. They are crewmen for DanaWharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, and they were trying to spot some false killer whales.

Instead, Kunewa saw a 700-pound leatherback sea turtle, swimming near the surface of the water. He could see clearly that the animal was tangled in kelp.

Without hesitating, Kunewa grabbed a knife and dove in.

"I'm gonna jump off and grab onto him," Kunewa can be heard saying in the video.

The next shot, he was already in the water, cutting away at the kelp and freeing the giant animal. He navigated around the animal cautiously, careful not to cut its fin.

Kunewa told KCBS: "[The turtle] swam pretty fast away from me after that."

According to KCBS, the native Hawaiian has a tattoo of a sea turtle on his arm, a symbol of his aumakua, or "family god."

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He said his aunt and grandmother often saved sea turtle. Now, Kunewa picks up the torch with his first save of the sacred animal.

"That was for you, auntie," the man said.

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