A California grey whale has finally been freed after being stuck in a 50ft net containing a host of dead animals, which it dragged around for a week.
Rescuers spent seven painstaking hours freeing it from the net after it was spotted on Friday night off the coast of Dana Point Harbour, California.
According to the NBC News, Dave Anderson, who works with dolphinsafari.com, said it was full of deceased animals, including a sea lion, a 5-foot leopard shark, two angel sharks and various spider crabs, fish and rays. He said: "This whale was towing the whole ecosystem behind it."
Dave was given permission from the National Marine Fisheries Services to attach a buoy to the cetacean to monitor it overnight as a specialist team of whale-watch crew members, wildlife rehabilitation staff, and boaters gathered for a Saturday rescue attempt, according to the LA Times.
Rescuers had to saw through nylon wire while following the whale, nicknamed Bart (after one of the boaters who stayed with it overnight) for miles out to sea.
"It was getting very frightening towards the end of the day because we were running out of time," Anderson told NBCLosAngeles.com.
The team used grappling hooks and lines to reel in the mammal and a knife to cut away the mass of fishing debris.
Finally, after seven hours, a line snapped and the whale dived, pulling a mass of buoys with it - then the animal emerged totally free of the net.
One of the rescuers, Dana Friedman, told the LA Times: "The support team on the nearby boat erupted in cheers."
Anderson said: "He came right up to our boat and almost mouthed, like, a thank you. It was pretty awesome."
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