This handout photograph released by the Sri Lankan Navy shows the rescues of an elephant that was spotted struggling to stay afloat in deep sea waters, some eight kilometres (five miles) off the island's northeast coast. Sri Lanka's navy has rescued an elephant that got into difficulties after being washed out to sea, a spokesman said July 12, calling it a "miraculous escape". Chaminda Walakuluge said the navy mounted the 12-hour rescue after spotting the elephant struggling to stay afloat around eight kilometres (five miles) off the island's northeast coast. / AFP PHOTO / Sri Lankan Navy / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / SRI LANKAN NAVY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images

An elephant has been rescued after it was spotted desperately keeping its trunk above water while swimming five miles out to sea.
The rescue, which took 12 hours and involved the Sri Lankan navy, has been hailed as a ‘miraculous escape’ for the giant mammal.  
Navy spokesman Chaminda Walakuluge said the navy mounted the mission after spotting the elephant struggling to stay afloat off the island’s northeast coast.
Divers aided by wildlife officials approached the distressed animal and tied ropes to it before towing it gently to shallow waters near the coast, where it was released late on Tuesday.
Mr Walakuluge said the animal had likely got swept into the sea while crossing the Kokkilai lagoon, a large stretch of water that lies between two areas of jungle.
He said: ‘They usually wade through shallow waters or even swim across to take a short cut.’ 
‘It is a miraculous escape for the elephant.’
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