Today show reporter struggles to stay afloat while filming sea turtle segment

Today show reporter struggles to stay afloat while filming sea turtle segment

An NBC News correspondent appeared to struggle to stay afloat while filming a Today show segment in the ocean about releasing baby turtles into the water.

On Thursday 22 September, NBC News journalist Kerry Sanders took part in the segment about sea turtles conservation efforts, which saw him reporting seven miles off the coast of Riviera Beach, Florida.

During the show, which saw Al Roker, Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb watch from the studio, Sanders began the segment aboard a boat alongside Florida Atlantic University researchers and individuals from the conservation nonprofit Upwell.

The reporter then lowered himself into the ocean, where he joined two researchers to release the baby turtles. However, the water appeared to be too choppy for Sanders, who could be seen using two handheld flotation devices to stay above water.

“So we’re bouncing around out here,” he said, as he could be seen floating in the waves alongside the researchers, who each wore a snorkel and goggles.

After introducing the researchers, Sanders then appeared to struggle slightly to hold onto both his flotation devices and what appeared to be an iPad.

As the waves continued to break against the boat, and the baby turtles were handed down to the researchers, the journalist could be seen attempting to hold on to the step attached to the side of the boat.

At one point, the Today show hosts in the studio appeared to joke about the choppy conditions in the ocean, with Roker heard telling viewers: “Kerry just got caught up in the Eastern-Australian current” to laughter from his co-hosts.

However, despite the less-than-ideal conditions from which he was reporting, Sanders, who continued to hold on to the floatation devices, told viewers: “To actually see this live, just incredible. I’m really taken by the fact they’re releasing these turtles, and, if everything goes well, we’re in what’s called the Gulf Stream, they might be, in a month or so, even off the coast of New England.

“So, really incredible guys.”

While Sanders appeared to struggle at times during the segment, viewers were grateful for both his and the researchers’ efforts to release the turtles into the ocean and hopefully increase their likelihood of survival.

“The turtle release segment on @TODAYshow was awesome. Hot chicks, cool dudes. More effects of climate change. Save the turtles. And Kerry Sanders is MVP,” one person wrote on Twitter, while FAU’s Lisa Metcalf wrote: “A lot of time and effort went into this story, and I couldn’t be more proud of the outcome. Thank you, @KerryNBC and @TODAYshow, for covering #FAU‘s very important sea turtle research.”

The NBC News correspondent, who was first certified to scuba dive in 1982, has a history of ocean-related reporting, and has previously conducted an under-water interview with a scientist about bull sharks.

His infatuation and interest in the sea creatures also led to a nickname, as Sanders revealed in a July 2022 essay published by Today that his NBC colleagues refer to him as “the resident shark expert”.

The Independent has contacted Today for comment.