"When it first came out of the water, you could hear it had labored breathing," he told The Dodo, adding that turtle was also grunting and wheezing.
It was a plastic straw, which was fully lodged up the poor turtle's nostril and had likely been there quite a while as it was faded and worn. After the first piece came out, the team realized that they had no choice but to help the turtle by removing the rest.
"Once we realized it was plastic there really was no going back anymore," he said. "It was already half removed from the animal ... We decided the most ethical, appropriate thing to do was to remove the straw that was obstructing the airways of this animal."
For the next eight minutes the team struggled to coax the straw out of the turtle's sinuses, as gently yet effectively as possible. While the turtle was in obvious pain, the team was miles from any veterinary care, and knew that a "field operation" was the best shot to restore his breathing.