Divers release whale caught in net, say she gave ‘nod of thanks’: report

The rescue that took place off Spain lasted nearly 45 minutes.

A rare humpback whale has been rescued by a group of Spanish divers who rescued the large mammal from a fishing net it had become entangled in. The rescue that took place off the coast of Spain lasted nearly 45 minutes. Officials from the rescue team had spotted the whale trapped in a red net and according to the independent, the animal could not even open its mouth.

The staff of the Aquarium of Palma de Mallorca went into action and prepared for the rescue operation. Initially, the team tried to cut the net off their boat itself, but that proved unsuccessful. Once that failed, professional divers were brought in from dive centers to help free the large mammal.

According the independent, Ms Torras, owner of the Albatros diving center, told how crew members saw the humpback whale calm down after an initial nervous phase.

“The first 10 seconds she got a little nervous, you know, like bubbles all over the place, but then I don’t know, call me crazy but I think she knew we were there to help her and she s just relaxed and we started working from the front of her upside-down mouth,” she said.

The dive team spent a lot of time cutting through the net, and eventually the whale also managed to wriggle free.

According to Ms Torras, before walking away, the mammal even seemed to give a “thank you sign”.

The net the animal was caught in is called a driftnet, and it was banned by the UN 30 years ago due to the dangers it poses to marine life.

The net is very successful in catching smaller fish, but poses a threat to larger animals such as whales, sharks and dolphins.

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