PANACEA, FL (WTXL/RNN) - At least four feet of storm surge rushed in at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab during Hurricane Michael, knocking out the power and oxygen for hundreds of species who live inside.
One employee drove from Tallahassee during the storm to save them.
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab is home to more than 200 species of sea life, just one reason why Cypress Rudloe, the lab’s executive director, rushed back to Panacea on Wednesday night to rescue them.
“And I’ve been running around, frantically trying to put oxygen on my big cobia and all these bigger fish and my sharks and stuff like that, and trying to get life support back up for these guys,” said Rudloe. “I’m very lucky and I’m just glad that I’m still here.”
Rudloe said the Flint River Aquarium evacuated two of their sharks. If those animals had been in Panacea, Rudloe wouldn’t have been able to save them all.
He added that even though generators were in place, there was a technical problem when the power went out, causing the oxygen pumps to fail.
With tired eyes from days without sleep, Rudloe said it’s a miracle he saved all the sea life, and still has an aquarium and a home here in Panacea.