Navy Ship Finds Massive Creature in the Ocean

By: Phoebe Hart | Last updated: Nov 18, 2023

The average day for a military sailor might range from lonely and monotonous to exciting and unexpected. These shifts might sometimes take one by surprise. The Sri Lankan navy personnel is fully aware of this fact since they are on the lookout for potential threats 24 hours a day. Plus being the Navy they are tasked with scouring the ocean day and night and that includes encounters with everything that lurks below and within. 

One such surprise encounter occurred not long ago when, ten miles from shore, the crew came across an unfamiliar sight. Something unusual was bobbing about in the sea. They saw what it was and were taken aback when they got closer.

An Unusual Spotting at Sea

The navy officers realized they had to take swift action to resolve this unusual scenario. Even the most routine activities may have thrilling surprises, as this tale demonstrates, which is a monument to the unknown nature of life at sea.


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There is no telling what will happen while you live at sea. Sailing over enormous oceanic expanses day after day with little to break the monotony is a challenge for any sailor. It’s easy to miss familiar surroundings and activities when you’re away from home for an extended period.


Surprises Can Come at Any Time

A life at sea, however, may be full of surprises for the sailors of Sri Lanka. Their job is to watch over the water and make sure everyone who uses it is safe. They keep a wary eye out for any indications of trouble and act swiftly and decisively in response to any emergency.


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As the crew was out exploring one day, they spotted something unusual in the sea approximately 10 miles from shore. At first, they thought it was a fallen item, but as they got closer, they were blown away by what they saw.

A Monster in Their Midst

An enormous, gorgeous monster that was unlike anything they had ever seen before was floating in the sea. Sadly, this magnificent creature was abandoned in the ocean just off the coast of Sri Lanka.


source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

As expected, sailors are experts on the ocean and its secrets; thus, encounters with strange species are nothing out of the ordinary. They are typically the first to observe sea monsters and other unknown species in their native habitat, giving rise to a long tradition of folklore about these creatures.

Not What They Expected

Given the size of the creature the Sri Lankan navy discovered, several of them speculated that it might be a long-lost species previously considered extinct. But as they got closer and recognized what it was, they wasted no time taking action.  Just how could this happen?


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At first, the navy officers refused to accept what they saw. They were no strangers to aquatic life. Yet this was so out of the ordinary that no one could have imagined it. It was a huge elephant! That’s something they never in a million years would have predicted.

A Swimming Baby Elephant

As elephants aren’t often seen near the ocean, this discovery came as a bit of a surprise. According to Chaminda Walakuluge, the juvenile elephant was probably washed away while trying to cross the Kokkilai lagoon, a large body of water that separates two forest sections, and ended up in the ocean.

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The naval group speculated that the elephant was making its way across the lagoon when the current suddenly picked up. They theorized that the elephant was swept away by the torrent and finally washed up on the coast.


Growing Tired by the Minute

Thankfully, elephants have a natural talent for swimming. They float thanks to their big, buoyant bodies, and their lengthy trunks double as snorkels. This allowed the elephant to stay alive when submerged.

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The elephant was a strong swimmer, but he was starting to fatigue. The sailors had no idea how long the elephant had been floating, but he was clearly growing hot and irritated. They were aware that action was required.


Time to Call for Some Help

When the naval crew saw the elephant, they knew they would need backup. As soon as they realized the elephant, now affectionately known as “Jumbo,” was in trouble, they placed a call for rescue. The elephant would quickly become too feeble to swim on his own.

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They decided to summon reinforcements in the form of ships and the wildlife division, reasoning that it would be prudent to have animal specialists on hand in case of an emergency with Jumbo. Photographs taken as divers approached show the elephant struggling to maintain its trunk above water.


Plans to Rescue Jumbo

When the second naval ship and wildlife team members showed up, they pooled their resources and devised a strategy. The elephant was too big to be towed into any of the ships, so they planned to get him back to land.

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As Jumbo had drifted further out to sea by the time the rescue effort began, they realized it would take some time. He had long already passed the 10-mile mark out to sea. They had to drag him forward carefully since he was a live being who needed to keep his head above water to breathe.


Patiently Pulling is the Key

The rescue crew anticipated a lengthy ordeal to save Jumbo. All day, the team sluggishly hauled Jumbo, ensuring he did not get hurt. He tried to keep his trunk above water so he could breathe every once in a while.

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Clearly, he was tiring, but they couldn’t give up. The rescue operation carried on as night fell. After much towing, the crew managed to get the exhausted elephant to safety. They brought him to a place where he could walk the rest of the way into the lagoon, where the water was shallow enough.


Time to Get Some Sleep

They anticipated Jumbo would sleep well for a long time once he reached a secure location. This was not an everyday event, as this was the first time they had seen an elephant in the water. After experiencing some anxiety, the animal desperately needed to get some shut-eye.

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Someone from the navy crew commented on how fortunate they were to be on a mission in that ocean area at the time of the rescue. They felt lucky to have been able to aid Jumbo as he attempted to cross the lagoon. This was unlike anything the team had ever experienced, and it was a moment they would never forget.


Healthy Despite the Circumstance

Now that Jumbo had been rescued, he could finally get some much-needed rest. The wildlife division kept an eye on him to ensure he was all right. The elephant was discovered to be in very excellent health, considering the hardship he had had.

source: Maria Moratti/Getty Images

He was declared healthy save from scrapes, bruises, and mild dehydration. Over many days, the veterinary staff gave the animal ample food and water, as well as the care and attention it needs to recover to full health. After determining he was well enough to return to the wild, he was set free.


Back to Where He Belongs

The naval team was relieved to learn that Jumbo was well and back in his environment. After many days at the veterinary clinic, the young elephant was ready to return to the wild where he belonged. Upon his release, he took off running into the woods and was lost to sight in the thicket.

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Jumbo the elephant’s rescue saga shows how unexpected events may occur even at sea. It’s a tribute to the teamwork of the Sri Lankan navy and the wildlife department, who did everything they could to save the life of an extraordinary animal.


It Was a Group Endeavor

The team that saved Jumbo the elephant and anybody who hears his extraordinary story will never forget it.  People throughout the world heard about the heroic deeds of the Sri Lankan navy crew and the young elephant, and they hailed them as heroes. 

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Nevertheless, the unit understated their participation in the rescue, claiming that they were only performing their jobs and that Jumbo’s return was a collective effort that led to the animal’s safe recovery.


All’s Well that Ends Well for Jumbo

As the Sri Lankan navy squad demonstrated, life on the water might be routine and boring, but it also has its share of unforeseeable twists and turns. It’s not every day one gets to see a large land animal swimming in the middle of the ocean!

source: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Their selfless actions to save a baby elephant from being dragged out to sea are a powerful example of the value of cooperation, bravery, and kindness in everyday life. Kudos to these incredible men, indeed.