Reporting Stacey Butler
NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — A 20-foot gray whale found tangled amongst discarded netting and a fishing buoy this week has been freed off the coast of Los Angeles.
The incident was the second time in six days that a gray whale had been found in danger on the coast. The first whale was able to swim away after rescuers cut it free from the net.
On Wednesday, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel spotted the second whale, which was traveling with a larger whale, according to officials.
Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s rescue teams responded to check out the trapped mammal.
They said an older whale never left the younger, tangled whale’s side. They suspect that other whale may be the yearling’s mother. The older whale tried to protect the younger one from the rescuers at several points.
“It was turning and kind of going underneath and around it so there’s a possibility the animal was aware it was entangled,” said Dean Gomersall, of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, who tried to rescue the whale.
Team members were able to attach two large orange buoys to the whale, but the crews were forced to leave because the seas were becoming rough and it was getting dark.
The whale was finally freed from the debris Thursday afternoon off the coast of Redondo Beach.