Tuesday, dozens of workers waded chest-deep through the chilly green water in Hoan Kiem Lake to try to capture the giant freshwater creature for the first time so it could be pulled to an island and treated.
It is one of the world's most endangered turtles — one of only four known living in the world — but in Vietnam many believe it is magical in that it helped a Vietnamese king fend off Chinese invaders nearly 600 years ago.
In recent days, photos of it surfacing with pink open sores on its wrinkled neck, shell, and legs have sparked near panic among the public. Some experts fear pollution in the lake is slowly killing the turtle that is affectionally called "great-grandfather."
Dozens of men waded into the water to try to gradually net the creature and drag it to the island. But even with the military involved in the rescue, the feisty turtle managed to slip through the nets and escape.
It looks like rescuing a magical creature isn't as easy as planned.
[Image via asianturtlenetwork.]