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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Seal rescued from power station
The mammal was released near to the seal colonies at Goodwin Sands
Divers have taken two days to free a grey seal from a water cooling pool at a nuclear power plant.

The mammal was discovered trapped in a tank filled with churning water at Dungeness Power Station on Wednesday.

Volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) built a floating pontoon to stop the seal from drowning before winching it out.

It is believed the 250kg (551lb) seal, which was released on Friday, swam into the tank through an inlet pipe.

The cooling pool tank had a constant flow of churning water passing through it, and it was feared the 8ft (2.4m) adult grey would drown from exhaustion.

Winched to safety

Trevor Weeks, of BDMLR, said "When we first saw the seal on Wednesday we could see that he was in good condition but we needed to act quickly to give him the ability to haul out and get out of the water.

"We attached two of our inflatable pontoon tubes, usually used for whale rescue, to a plywood board and a crane lowered this into the tank. The seal took only a few minutes to start using the raft."

A special net was placed on the floating raft on Thursday to trap the seal and winch him to safety.

The animal was examined by a veterinary surgeon before being released to the east of Dover, away from Dungeness.

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