Sea Turtle Named 'Bank' Dies After Surgery To Remove 915 Coins

Vets said the turtle suffered blood poisoning after consuming the coins that had been tossed by Thai tourists.

22/03/2017 6:42 AM AEDT | Updated 22/03/2017 6:45 AM AEDT

An endangered green sea turtle named "Bank" has died just weeks after undergoing a four-hour surgery in Thailand to remove nearly 1,000 coins from her stomach.

The 25-year-old turtle ultimately suffered from blood poisoning from the estimated 11 pounds of metal that had been tossed into her pool over the years for good luck, veterinarians said.

"She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed," Dr. Nantarika Chansue, who led the team that removed 915 coins on March 6, told The Associated Press.

The sea turtle underwent a four-hour operation to remove the coins from her stomach after they had been tossed into her pool by tourists.

The turtle named Omsin, which means "bank" or "piggy bank" in Thai, was brought to vets earlier this month after it was found struggling to swim by sailors near the town of Sri Racha. Throwing coins on the back of turtles is an old Thai superstition that's believed to give the person longevity, according to the AP.

Vets said they expected her to take about a month to recover from the surgery before undergoing physical therapy. But on Sunday, she was rushed into intensive care when found to be breathing too slowly. During an emergency operation on Monday, she fell into a coma that she didn't wake up from, Reuters reported.

Guillaume Payen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
An officer holds up two cups containing some of the coins the turtle had consumed over the years.

Video and photos posted to a Facebook page belonging to Chansue showed doctors working to save the turtle.

"At 10:10 a.m. she went with peace," Chansue later told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse. "She is my friend, teacher, and patient."

Chansue hopes the turtle's loss will serve as a wake-up call to end the superstitious practice.

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