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Biologists rescue 800-pound sea turtle in East Hampton

Marine biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine

Marine biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation rescue an 800-pound Leatherback Sea Turtle that was tangled up in rope just off Gardiners Island in East Hampton on Sunday, June 29, 2014. Photo Credit: Robert DiGiovanni

Marine biologists rescued an 800-pound Leatherback Sea Turtle Sunday that was tangled up in rope just off Gardiners Island in East Hampton.

Robert DiGiovanni, executive director and senior biologist of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said the nonprofit responded to a call from U.S. Coast Guard officials who reported the entangled reptile at about 3 p.m.

The 5-foot-long sea turtle had a line of rope wrapped around its flippers and neck, DiGiovanni said.

After foundation workers cut the rope, the turtle "dove and swam away," he said. Marine biologists remained in the area for another 30 minutes to ensure the animal was not in distress, DiGiovanni said.

With summer typically attracting more marine life to Long Island's waters, DiGiovanni said the foundation urged people to report any sightings of whales, dolphins or sea turtles in distress to its hotline at 631-369-9829.

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