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Rescued sea turtle discovered dead

Andre returned to the ocean off Florida three weeks ago, after receiving a year of rehab for his injuries. Andre returned to the ocean off Florida three weeks ago, after receiving a year of rehab for his injuries. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post/Associated Press)
Associated Press / August 26, 2011

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Andre, a sea turtle who survived catastrophic injuries and underwent a year of rehabilitation and innovative surgeries, has been found dead, three weeks after he was released off the Florida coast.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center, which had cared for the turtle, said he was found Wednesday. David McClymont, the center’s president, said the turtle was identified from a tag that had been placed on him, but he was in such bad shape they could not determine what killed him.

Just three weeks ago, a raucous crowd of hundreds gathered to watch Andre crawl into the sea and swim away.

When Andre was found stranded on a sandbar on June 15, 2010, he had gaping holes in his shell, the result of two boat strikes. More than three pounds of sand were inside him, along with crabs, a raging infection, and a collapsed lung

His caretakers said the herculean efforts they took to save Andre - including several procedures considered animal firsts - were already helping others.