Skip to main content /WORLD
CNN.com /WORLD
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS



Sorrow as 'hero' flood seal dies

Gaston
Gaston the seal won fans across Europe, but his plight has ended tragically  


PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- A seal who became a cause celebre by swimming to Germany after his zoo aquarium overflowed has died.

Male seal Gaston won the hearts of many Europeans when his bid for freedom made headlines amid Europe's flood disaster.

After the worst flood ever recorded in Prague swelled the waters of his aquarium beyond its walls, Gaston swam more than 300 km (188 miles) from the Czech capital.

Czechs, grateful to be offered a respite from their suffering as they fought the flood's chaos and damage, were captivated by his five-day plight.

CNN NewsPass VIDEO
Grimma, Germany, faces the destruction with a will to rebuild. (August 19)

Play video
 
MORE STORIES
Lost hippo found  
Damage estimate: $7bn 
 
IN-DEPTH
Special report: Floods ravage Europe 
 
EXTRA INFORMATION
Gallery: Images of flooding 
Map: Severely hit areas 
 
YOUR SAY
Are you affected? E-mail stories and read others
 

Czech television showed workers enticing Gaston with fish in a bid to recapture him, but each time he grabbed the food and escaped before they had a chance to snare him.

His fans urged him "to snack on fresh fish in the North Sea" rather than be returned to captivity.

One of two other seals who escaped with Gaston returned home on its own, while a second was captured on Sunday after being found in the flooded gardens of a castle near the town of Melnik, about 25 km (15 miles) north of Prague.

Rescuers had feared the exhausted 12-year-old Gaston was ill when they finally caught up with him near Dresden, Germany, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Berlin on Monday.

The ailing seal died at around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Tuesday while being taken back to Prague, zoo spokesman Vit Kahle said. The exact cause of the death is not yet known.

"We are very, very sad," Kahle told Reuters news agency. "He could have become the hero of the floods."

The Prague Zoo has been hit hard by the flooding, with dozens of birds, an elephant, four hippos, a lion, a bear and a gorilla dying in the disaster.



 
 
 
 






RELATED STORIES:
• Floods spark chemical spill fear
August 17, 2002
• Dresden floods reach all-time high
August 16, 2002
• Huge cost of Czech floods
August 16, 2002
• Dresden evacuated as waters rise
August 15, 2002
• 'Floods took away my livelihood'
August 14, 2002
• Prague faces 'worst moment'
August 14, 2002

RELATED SITES:
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

WORLD TOP STORIES:

 Search   

Back to the top