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Tense video shows boaters’ swift action save life of pelican in crisis: ‘In the right place at the right time’

“It was snapping at us and wanted to fly away.”

“It was snapping at us and wanted to fly away.”

Photo Credit: @erinsoltys / TikTok

A group of boaters acted swiftly to save the life of a struggling pelican that had become entangled in some fishing line. 

“We were out fishing when a Park Ranger and people on the bridge started screaming and flagging us down,” Erin Soltys, one of the rescuers, said in a TikTok video she posted of the event.

In the footage, the large pelican can be seen splashing helplessly and struggling to stay afloat, its wings and legs completely entangled in fishing line. Fortunately, Soltys and her group were there, as she said, “in the right place at the right time.”

@erinsoltys We were in the right place at the right time! #pelican #sebastianflorida #rescue #birdsoftiktok #happytohelp #wildlife #fishing #fyp ♬ Get You – Official Sound Studio

The pelican is clearly panicking, its beak dipping below the water as it tries and fails to swim with its bound wings and legs, the video shows. Soltys’ companions swiftly pull the bird onto their boat, where they hold it in place as they work to free it from the fishing line. 

“We knew the pelican was scared and didn’t know we were only trying to help,” Soltys wrote. “It was snapping at us and wanted to fly away.”

Nevertheless, the group is shown handling the pelican carefully, with one person holding its beak gently shut while the other works to cut loose the fishing line.

And shortly thereafter, they free their charge of his predicament. “The best part was [he] calmed down and eventually trusted us, and we were able to get it all!”

Unfortunately, stray fishing lines are often the cause of needless bird deaths, when birds are unable to walk, fly, swim, or eat after becoming ensnared in stray lines. Experts believe that fishing line may kill more pelicans in Florida each year than any other hazard. 

These threats are the reason that beaches around the country have begun installing monofilament recycling containers for the safe disposal of these lines.

Other organizations utilize volunteers to sweep fishing areas, clearing stray equipment in order to keep wildlife safe. And of course, people like Soltys can come to the rescue whenever they end up in the right place at the right time. 

The comment section was full of heart-eyed emojis, thank you’s, and praise. “Beautiful beautiful beautiful – thanks for sharing and doing what you did,” said one commenter. “Great job. Love it,” said another.

In the final shot, you can see the pelican launch from the boat and flap away, onwards into the Florida sunshine.

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