KEPPEL Sands Coast Guard volunteers ran to the rescue of a 100kg turtle yesterday afternoon after the animal had become beached in Tuesday's high tide.
The large adult turtle, 1.2m in length, was discovered by campers at Long Beach, just off Keppel Sands, on Tuesday afternoon and had moved further up the beach by yesterday morning due to the high tide overnight.
Wildlife rescuers and the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre worked tirelessly yesterday to try to co-ordinate a rescue plan before low tide but the position of the animal proved to be a challenge as vehicles were unable to get across the two saltwater creeks that surrounded the turtle.
At 2pm two Keppel Sands Coast Guard volunteers took a three-hour drive through an off-beat 4WD track and hoisted the turtle into their vehicle.
A spokesperson from the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre said the turtle most likely became beached as a result of being too weak to make its way back to the water.
"The turtle is tagged so we'll be able to find out some history of the turtle when it's in our care," the spokesperson said yesterday.
"It has two large fractures on its shell which look very bad; they're about 25cm cracks and it looks like they are from a boat strike.
"I would say these happened a few months ago and the turtle has just been floating in the waters since then as it has signs of severe sunburn on its shell.
"The main priority for us was to obviously rescue the animal in the quickest and safest way possible and bring it back to the centre for a health assessment.
"The Keppel Sands Coast Guard did an amazing job and the turtle looks to be in pretty good health so that's a positive sign.
"We'll hopefully be able to attend to those cracks in the shell and rehabilitate the turtle when it gets to us," the spokesperson said.
Quoin Island's Turtle Taxi transported the turtle back to the Gladstone-based rehabilitation centre about 5pm yesterday.