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30 Endangered Sea Turtles From Cape Cod Waters Reach New Orleans For Further Treatment

BOSTON (CBS) -- Thirty endangered sea turtles recused from Cape Cod beaches have reached New Orleans after a hiccup in their travel plans over Thanksgiving week. The Kemp's ridley turtles are at the Audubon Nature Institute's Coastal Wildlife Network after stopping in Tennessee.

For weeks, the New England Aquarium and the National Marine Life Center cared for turtles, who were suffering from hypothermia and the inability to feed due to cold ocean temperatures, the organizations said.

On Wednesday, pilots with Turtles Fly Too were transporting the turtles to New Orleans when they came across strong winds and storms, forcing them to change course and refuel twice. When taking off after the second refueling, a rock hit the plane's propeller, grounding the plane.

Turtles were transported from the New England Aquarium to the Audubon Nature Institute's Coastal Wildlife Network in New Orleans (Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Aquarium)

The Tennessee Aquarium was able to pick up the turtles and care for them overnight in Chattanooga.

"We are grateful to our partners who stepped in so quickly to help these turtles, especially since it was late on the night before Thanksgiving. But everyone jumped in enthusiastically to find a place for these turtles," said Kate Sampson, NOAA Fisheries sea turtle stranding and disentanglement coordinator for the Greater Atlantic Region. "Kemp's ridleys are endangered, so every single one makes a difference to the survival of the species."

The next day the Turtles Fly Too pilots resumed their travels and made it to New Orleans.

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