JUNO BEACH, Fla. - A loggerhead sea turtle that was rescued a few months ago after being hooked at the Lake Worth Pier was released back into the wild on Thursday.
"The turtle had a fishing hook lodged down between its esophagus and the stomach, very very deep so it had to undergo some surgery to remove that hook. It took about 2 and a half months for the surgery to heal," said Doctor Charles Manire with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
After its recovery, plenty of friends came out to send him off.
Kat Rumbley of Loggerhead Marinelife Center was shocked to see how many people came to see the turtle, nicknamed "TNT".
"We usually get a good turnout for our sea turtle releases but this one was huge. We're so excited that this many people were here today to say goodbye to TNT and wish him the best of luck," said Rumbley.
Judging by the huge crowd this time, TNT is a rock star. Hundreds of families turned out to see him off, and they weren't disappointed.
Harmony Sabasten and Casey Naugle enjoyed the show.
"He swam away but at some parts it looked like it was saying goodbye because it popped up its head. And it looked like he was happy to be back in the ocean," said the girls.
Bev Ladda, the girls' grandma was impressed.
"I thought it was really awesome, really really good to see the results of what the marine life center does. That's what is amazing that they do all this rescue," said Ladda.
NOAA just announced that the coast of Florida is a marine critical habitat for loggerhead turtles. That's going to give them more protection and a better chance for survival for turtles like TNT and future generations.