Video: Major rescue under way at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary after devastating flood

Staff run to a waiting van with a shark in a sling. Staff run to a waiting van with a shark in a sling.

Friday, December 6, 2013
2:13 PM

Marine experts are racing against time to save sharks, turtles and other sea creatures after their aquarium was flooded.

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A shark in a tank tries to evade the rescuers' net.A shark in a tank tries to evade the rescuers' net.

The tide surged into Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary at the height of the storm, leaving the seafront attraction under a metre of water.

Staff were forced to turn off the power and abandon the building, but returned this morning with marine experts to begin rescuing their stock.

Sharks, turtles, fish and other creatures are being transferred to other aquariums in Great Yarmouth and Weymouth.

“The priority for the team is those animals, keeping those animals alive,” said sanctuary manager Nigel Croasdale. “Once the animals are successfully evacuated from the building, we can then turn to the devastation to the fixtures and the pounding that the building has taken.”

Two rescued sharks in a tank.Two rescued sharks in a tank.

Sharks were being caught in their tank with two divers using a net to drive them towards staff using landing nets.

Once netted, the fish were taken out to a waiting van with aerated tanks, ready to begin their journey.

Mr Croasdale, who has managed the centre for 15 years, said it had been open normally before the flood, which sent around 1m of water into the building as the waves came over the Promenade.

“I’d been at work all day from 8am, we’d been open and trading as normal,” he said. “We stayed in the building, waiting to see what was going to happen with the flood alert.

“We stayed as long as we could, then there came a point where we had to cut the power and leave the building. It’s out of your hands at that point.”

Firefighters and Sea Life Sanctuary staff spent the night pumping water out of the building.

“I’d like to praise the staff and the fire brigade for working through the night,” said Mr Croasdale. “We’ve got through the night and we haven’t lost a single creature.”

The sanctuary’s resident otters and penguins are also likely to be relocated until power is restored and necessary repairs carried out.

The centre will be closed to visitors until further notice.

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