July 13, 2017 04:46 PM

A surprising sight turned into a miraculous rescue.

The Navy of Sri Lanka recently spotted an elephant alive, but struggling, five miles out to sea, reports Metro. Not wanting the innocent animal to drown, 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.

RELATED VIDEO: Watch PEOPLE Pet Vet Dr. Evan Antin Transform this Emaciated Stray into a Healthy, Happy Pet

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.

You May Like