Rescue team Sea World frees humpback whale trapped in ropes from a fishing buoy

Incredible footage shows the extraordinary 45-minute effort it took a Sea World rescue team to retrieve a humpback whale from the rope wrapped around its tail

  • Humpback whale was caught in rope from a fishing buoy off the Gold Coast
  • Sea World rescue team was called in to cut the rope from the whale
  • Two weeks earlier, another young humpback whale got entangled in shark nets

Incredible footage captured the moment a rescue crew was able to free a humpback whale entangled in ropes from a fishing buoy.

A fisherman had seen the whale on Thursday towing a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD), a man-made flotation device, off the coast of Coolangatta, on the Gold Coast.

A Sea World rescue crew was called to the whale and the team managed to untangle the mammal in just 45 minutes.

Footage shared by Sea World shows the rope wrapped around the whale’s tail fin and one of its fins as it struggled to swim through the water.

A fisherman had spotted the whale on Thursday towing a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD), a man-made flotation device, off the coast of Coolangatta, on the Gold Coast.

The rescue team was able to pull up their boat right next to the whale and, using a long pole with a hook at the end, free the rope from its body.

Sea World Head of Marine Sciences Wayne Phillips said the whale allowed the team to get close enough to free it.

“It was a pretty quick rescue, most of the time we just watched the whale, evaluate the situation and make sure we made the cuts in the rope in the right order,” he said.

“If we cut too early and we lose the big marker boy, the whale could swim away with the equipment still around.”

A Sea World rescue crew was called to the whale and the team managed to untangle the mammal in just 45 minutes

A Sea World rescue crew was called to the whale and the team managed to untangle the mammal in just 45 minutes

The whale swims off the coast of Coolangatta after being freed from the ropes

The whale swims off the coast of Coolangatta after being freed from the ropes

Unfortunately, it is the second whale to become entangled in fishing equipment in just two weeks off the Gold Coast.

Mr Phillips said it might be worth considering removing the FADs during whale migration season.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have something outside while the whales are migrating,” he said.

Earlier this month, a young humpback whale was feared entangled in shark nets off the Gold Coast.

It took a two-day operation to free the whale and although not all of the net could be removed, the animal was deemed safe to continue its migration.

The rescue team was able to pull up their boat right next to the whale and, using a long pole with a hook at the end, they were able to free the rope from its body.

The rescue team was able to pull up their boat right next to the whale and, using a long pole with a hook at the end, they were able to free the rope from its body.

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