On the morning of December 20th, dressed in layers to ward off the cold and equipped with snow shovels to [literally] dig the plane out of its hanger, Pilots to the Rescue Top Dog Pilot Michael Schneider and co-pilot Daniel Baumel headed to the airport. After a big of a struggle, they eventually took off around 7:30 am, headed for Marshfield Airport outside Boston. That’s where they met representatives from the New England Aquarium who helped carefully load the sole passenger for the day’s flight – a 31 pound Juvenile Loggerhead Sea Turtle known as 20-910-Cc, who had been found along Cape Cod. Juvenile turtles often stay north too long and begin their migrating too late, leaving them stuck in the bay when it gets cold. After they wash up on the shore, cold-stunned and stranded, volunteers often take them to the New England Aquarium to rehabilitate them and then fly them south to release them back into the water.

But with temperatures in the Boston area hovering at or below freezing, a busy stranding weekend on tap, and Massachusetts sea turtle rehab hospitals like the New England Aquarium overwhelmed with turtles, the Sea Turtle Stranding and Disentanglement Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries put out a plea for help. Pilots to the Rescue and Sea Turtle Recovery answered the call.

The mission was to get him from the Aquarium to Sea Turtle Recovery in New Jersey as quickly and safely as possible. An hour after takeoff, the once-stranded sea turtle was in the capable hands of Sea Turtle Recovery thanks to Pilots to the Rescue and Turtles Fly, Too.

Sea Turtle Recovery reports their newest patient is doing great. He is on antibiotics and has a ferocious appetite. He is currently the biggest patient in house, which is ironic because they say he is the smallest Loggerhead sea turtle that they have ever seen.

You can follow all Sea Turtle Recovery‘s patients as they heal by following them on Facebook.

Compassion Flight 1283 was made possible by Turtles Fly, Too in association with Pilots to the Rescue, Sea Turtle Recovery, the New England Aquarium, and NOAA.

MAJOR AIRLINES Alaska Airlines – Pet in cabin – $100.00 USD each way Pet in baggage – $100.00 USD each way. Animal doesn’t have to be owned the traveler and can be a rescue pet. • The pet carrier counts toward your carry-on bag allotment. You may bring either a pet carrier and a personal item, or a pet carrier and a standard size carry-on bag. You may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a standard size carry-on, and a personal item. • A customer may travel with a maximum of 2 pet carriers in the main cabin, only when the adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer. • Pets allowed in the passenger cabin are dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds. Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been fully weaned. • Up to 2 pets of the same species and similar size may travel in the same carrier, provided no body parts protrude from the carrier and the animals are not in distress. Brachycephalic or “short-nosed” dogs and cats are not accepted for travel in the cargo compartment on Alaska Airlines flights (including flights operated by Horizon, SkyWest, or PenAir). Dogs: boston terrier, boxer (all breeds), bull dog (all breeds), bull terrier, brussels griffon, chow chow, english toy spaniel, japanese spaniel/japanese chin, mastiff (all breeds), pekingese, pit bull (all breeds), pug (all breeds), shih tzu, staffordshire terrier. Cats: Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian. All pets traveling in the cargo compartment on Alaska Airlines (including flights operated by Horizon, SkyWest and PenAir) must have a health certificate dated within 10 days of initial travel and 30 days of return travel, when the return flight is booked in the same record. Pets traveling on a return flight booked in a separate record are required to have a health certificate dated within 10 days of that flight. A health certificate is not required for pets traveling in the cabin with their passenger; however, many states have specific importation health and vaccination requirements.
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