SAN ONOFRE, Calif., April 19 (UPI) -- Marine rescuers in California said they were unable to locate a gray whale last seen tangled in a fishing net off the coast of San Onofre.
Melissa Sciacca, director of development at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, said the 40-foot whale was first seen heading south along the shore of Laguna Beach Tuesday while pulling 50 to 100 feet of fishing line from its left pectoral fin with additional fishing line tangled in its mouth, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, reported Thursday.
Rescuers were able to attach three inflatable buoys to the whale before it fought against them.
"This whale, I think, was letting us know we were a little bit too close," said Dana Friedman of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
The rescuers said they managed to free the whale from a portion of the fishing line but had to suspend the operation for the night.
However, the rescue team was unable to locate the whale Wednesday, even with the help of Coast Guard helicopters.
Experts said they are concerned about the whale's southward direction, as gray whales usually migrate north at this time of year.