'All lives matter': Indonesia saves tsunami-stranded turtles

Rescuers carrying a stranded sea turtle on the beach in Kalianda, which was found washed ashore after the tsunami. About 15 turtles were rescued this week. PHOTO: AFP

KALIANDA, INDONESIA (AFP) - Searching a debris-strewn beach for victims of Indonesia's deadly tsunami, a rescue team happened upon a giant sea turtle trapped in a pile of marine trash.

It took four people to haul the endangered creature back to sea, just the latest in a string of turtle rescues along the country's devastated coast.

"The turtle was really large and it got stuck in a pile of rubbish, lying almost upside down," Mr Adi Ayangsyah, a member of a search and rescue team in hard-hit Lampung on Sumatra island, told AFP on Friday (Dec 28).

He said the turtle was "probably about 30kg".

This week, about 15 other turtles were rescued in the same area.

"We think they were swept ashore by the tsunami," said Mr Teguh Ismail, head of Lampung's conservation agency.

"But they didn't have any wounds so we got them back in the water."

An eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano, which sits in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, caused a section of the crater to collapse and slide into the ocean, triggering the killer tsunami last Saturday evening.

On Friday, the death toll stood at 430, with 159 still missing.

Hopes for finding any survivors are all but gone, but the hunt isn't limited to human victims.

"We'll keep our eye out for other stranded turtles as well," Mr Ayangsyah said.

"For us, all lives matter. Human or animal - we'll try to rescue them all."

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