Hurricane Irma strands manatees as residents rush to the rescue

Last Updated Sep 11, 2017 10:01 AM EDT

Hurricane Irma pulled water from Sarasota Bay on Sunday afternoon and left several manatees stuck in knee-deep mud, CBS affiliate WTSP-TV in Tampa reports.

A few residents in the area came to the rescue, placing them on a large green tarp and pulling them more than 100 yards back into the water.

After becoming restless, Marcelo Clavejo checked out the bay near Whitfield where he noticed the manatees on the flats. "So we went for a ride and ended up saving two manatees," Clavejo posted on Facebook.

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Florida residents rescue manatees stranded by a low tide.

Marcelo Clavejo/Facebook/WTSP

Clavejo said the rescue was a "pretty cool experience" and he was happy to rescue two of "manatees finest."

The nearly 400-mile-wide storm is expected to make a slow, ruinous march up Florida's west coast, straight toward the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area by Monday morning. Streets emptied across the bottom half of the Florida peninsula, and some 127,000 people huddled in shelters.