On Saturday afternoon, rescuers successfully freed a humpback whale that was entangled in hundreds of feet of fishing line.
On Friday, a team with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was able to cut away up to 100 feet of rope and buoys — possibly from a crab or lobster trap — but the whale became agitated and dove deep, eluding rescuers for the rest of the day.
The adult humpback, estimated to be 35 to 50 feet long, was spotted Friday off the Orange County coast about 45 miles south of Los Angeles. It was entangled from its mouth to its tail and what appeared to be nylon rope streamed behind it.
In Friday’s three-hour operation, the Sea World team was able to cut away more than 230 feet of remaining line, leaving only some line in its mouth.
NOAA’s whale rescue team has responded to about 50 entangled whales since January — a spike that could be attributed to warmer waters bringing the giant animals closer to shore, where they encounter fishing gear, Viezbicke said.