Rescuers spent hours cutting a humpback whale free from fishing line in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
A team with the Center for Coastal Studies researching humpback whales north of Provincetown, Massachusetts noticed a whale in distress early Sunday morning that led to an 11-hour rescue effort.
The humpback whale was entangled from head to tail in fishing line and ropes, including having its mouth almost tied shut. It left the whale almost completely immobile as it helplessly dragged the heavy fishing gear near the surface.
To make matters worse, the whale had sustained a few injuries from a 15-foot great white shark that was stalking it from below.
An entanglement rescue team quickly deployed a 35-foot vessel to ensure their safety as they nervously worked at untangling the whale as the shark continued to circle them.
After spending a few hours cutting the line away from its head and mouth the shark seemed to give up its pursuit and swim off.
With the shark gone, the team switched over to a smaller 15-foot inflatable raft to get closer to the humpback whale. Using a long pole with a hook-shaped knife they carefully cut away the remainder of the line from its tail.
Once its tail was freed, the whale quickly turned and swam away from the area.
The Center for Coastal Studies urges anyone who spots entangled marine life to the Marine Entanglement Response Hotline at (1-800) 900-3622 or the nearest U.S. Coast Guards. They also ask that you remain near the animal until rescuers arrive on scene to help.
All photos via Facebook/Center for Coastal Studies