Feds Say Kennedys Broke the Law During Sea Turtle Rescue

Takepart.com

It may not fall under the Camelot Curse, but it turns out two members of the storied Kennedy clan actually violated federal law when they helped rescue a sea turtle in need over the Fourth of July holiday. 

RFK Jr. and his brother Max were out sailing on Nantucket Sound (of course) when they spotted a 500-pound leatherback sea turtle with a buoy line wrapped around its neck. The Kennedys freed the endangered animal, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says they should have just called them. 

That's because the Endangered Species Act specifies it's illegal for common folk—even Kennedys—to handle or touch an endangered or protected species. 

According to the AP, the NOAA also worries that untrained members of the public could actually put themselves in danger by trying to do a good deed. 

Humans can get tangled in the lines themselves and dragged under by the several-hundred-pound turtles—which can hold their breath for a lot longer than humans. 

"You can get entangled and it can turn into a tragedy," an NOAA official told the AP

The Kennedys, for their part, have apologized for mishandling the situation. 

NOAA says anyone who spots a sea turtle in distress should call them. 

According to the AP, turtle entanglements are up off the coast of New England this year, from eight in 2012, to 22 already this year.

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