JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Four manatees were rescued after being stranded in marsh along the St. Johns River in the 4900 block of Toproyal Lane in Arlington on Monday afternoon.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, residents and a team of marine biology students from Jacksonville University worked to relocate the manatees after low tide, which was at about 4:30 p.m.

"I got the call, came out here, thought, 'Wow, it?s only five minutes up the road here. The students are never going to get an opportunity like this, to get up close,' " said J.U Professor Gerry Pinto. "Some of them even got to do surgery on that last manatee."

Wildlife officials said they found six manatees when they got there, but two escaped back into the river on their own.

More than a dozen people helped to free the manatees, using a stretcher to carry the manatees back out to the river. Manatees weigh about 1,200 pounds on average.

Wildlife officials said three of the male manatees were likely pursuing the female manatee in a mating instance when they got stuck in the marsh.