DAYTONA BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — After being trapped last week behind an underwater retention fence during Hurricane Dorian, a manatee and her baby have been freed.

At least that’s the working theory from state wildlife workers since no one could see clearly into the murky water. The manatees likely swam into the area when storm surge raised the water and became stuck when it receded.

Construction workers spent four hours Wednesday creating an opening in the metal wall, its support poles are 24 feet deep into the riverbed of the Halifax River in Daytona Beach. The purpose of the catch basis is to hold sediment so it doesn’t get released into the river.

When wildlife officials didn’t see the mother and calf surface after 20 minutes, they assumed that the manatees had escaped through the opening.

The Daytona Beach News Journal reports that 100 people crowded around to watch the efforts.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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