SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A sea lion made its way onto a San Diego freeway, miles from the ocean, on Friday, bringing traffic to a crawl.
But with the help of two good Samaritans, the lost marine animal was guided safely to the other side of the road.
Josefine Jandinger was driving on eastbound State Route 94 just west of Interstate 805 when she came across the bizarre sight.
"I see the two amazing humans, stopping traffic ... Trying to save seal, trying to have the seal walk to the other side of road," said Jandinger.
Jandinger said the two people stopped their vehicle in the middle of the freeway and directed traffic around the animal, asking vehicles to slow down and staying in front of the sea lion.
According to California Highway Patrol, the sea lion was reported just before 10 a.m. CHP officers ran several traffic breaks to make sure the animal wasn't hit by vehicles.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen," she added.
Eric Otjen, head of SeaWorld San Diego's rescue team, said they don't often get calls about a sea lion on a freeway and they're not exactly sure how it made its way that far inland.
"This is pretty unique situation, we don’t often get calls about a sea lion on a freeway," Otjen said. "We don’t know exactly how he got here ... this is a pretty cool rescue, so we feel good."
Otjen added that this isn't the first time that this particular sea lion has been the subject of a call. He said in early November, the same sea lion was rescued from Harbor Island Drive and taken to their rescue facility.
He was recent shortly after and has been showing up in odd situations and spots since then, Otjen said.
"This is the weirdest though," said Otjen. "This is probably the most dangerous situation one has been in, at least in a long time. We were just glad we were able to get out here and take care of things ... They are very nimble. Sometimes curiosity gets the best of them and maybe that's what happened with this guy."
But how exactly did the sea lion get so far inland? Near the highway is a dry Chollas Creek bed. Maps show a possible 3-and-a-half mile path from San Diego Bay, up the waterway to Highway 94.
"If he found some water, and just kind of kept going up that way, then that is what makes sense," said Otjen,
SeaWorld San Diego has transported the sea lion to its park. SeaWorld says the sea lion appears healthy, but they'll be conducting additional tests, as they look into anything that could explain his behavior. If he checks out, it's possible he could be released in a few weeks.