A surprising sight turned into a miraculous rescue.
The Navy of Sri Lanka on Tuesday spotted an elephant alive, but struggling, five miles out to sea .
The rescue effort swelled to three more vessels and a team of navy divers.
Using ropes and guidance provided by officials from the Department of Wildlife, the team towed the elephant back to land, where it was handed over to officials from the wildlife office, the Sri Lankan Navy said.
The Navy launched a 12-hour rescue operation to save the elephant.
To safely bring the elephant back to shore, a member of the Navy climbed on to the animal’s back and tied ropes around its body.
The other ends of those ropes were connected to a boat, which carefully towed the animal back to shore.
The elephant is rebounding from its near-death experience remarkably well, headed back out into the wild after making it to land.
Rescuers believe the elephant ended up in the open ocean after trying to cross a lagoon that separates two tracts of jungle.
Elephants often wade or swim across this expanse without issue, but the Navy believes this elephant got caught in the water and dragged out to sea.