Meet the Lawton Area Man Who Rescued a Sea Turtle in Viral Video
A Southwest Oklahoma man found himself in the unexpected spotlight after his homemade video of a sea turtle rescue went viral.
Steve Booker of Cyril, Oklahoma, which is just northeast of Lawton, was on his third vacation stay on the island of Cozumel in Mexico when he wished for one thing: to see a sea turtle up-close. On Wednesday, July 19, Steve awoke early to grab a time lapse of the Mexican sunrise and that's when his wish came true.
His rescue video, which has been viewed a combined 3 million times and counting, shows his discovery of what he thinks is a dead sea turtle on the shore of Cozumel.
We caught up with Steve to chat about his experience rescuing the injured sea turtle (video above). "When I saw the sea turtle at first, I thought it was dead...it wasn't moving, its neck was all stretched out, it was just totally motionless," Steve said.
Steve snapped a few still photos, then he saw the turtle blink and realized she's not dead. "I knew immediately I had to jump in and help," he said.
That's when Steve started recording video from his phone and captured the moving footage that will have you cheering for the beautiful marine animal's survival along with him. Steve encourages and captures her slow journey back to the shore, only breaking for admiration of the Mexican sunrise over the beach.
Steve said he had no idea his video would gain as much attention as it has -- it has since been broadcast on the Weather Channel and countless online publications. He believes it's "a feel-good story" and he's happy to be involved in something so positive. Steve added that it will be hard to match this experience of Cozumel waves, a beautiful sunrise and an opportunity to cheer a struggling sea creature back to shore.
There are two types of sea turtles indigenous to Cozumel, Mexico; Loggerhead and Hawksbill. This sizable fighter fits the description of a Loggerhead and can weigh up to 350 pounds and reach 3.5 feet in length.
If you're wondering how the little survivor was able to walk so well back to shore, sea turtles have callus-like scales that give them traction, even allowing them to walk the ocean floor. It's not uncommon for pregnant Loggerhead's to travel hundreds of miles to lay their eggs, so a few feet to shore is nothing for this Momma.
The sea turtle, which Steve has named 'Lucky,' has a good chance of survival and possibly reuniting with her rescuer next year when Steve and his wife return to Cozumel.
Watch the full rescue video is below.
You can learn more about Steve's love of photography at stevebookerphotography.com