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Fishermen free humpback whale from tangled net off New Jersey

By
Ben Hooper
A humpback whale freed from an abandoned fishing net off the coast of New Jersey. Screenshot: Storyful
A humpback whale freed from an abandoned fishing net off the coast of New Jersey. Screenshot: Storyful

BRICK, N.J., May 24 (UPI) -- A group of fishermen rescued a humpback whale tangled in fishing gear off the coast of northern Ocean County in New Jersey.

Fisherman Sal Gatto posted a video to Facebook showing the whale slowly swimming off Saturday after the boat's crew cut through ropes and nets to rescue the 40-foot sea creature from some abandoned fishing equipment.

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"I was out looking for some bass during the early morning and spotted a 40 foot humpback whale tangled in a large fish net with rope near the Manasquan Inlet," Gatto told JSHN.com.

He said he called the Coast Guard before he and the other fishermen set to work cutting through the ropes.

"At one point we thought it died. We just kept cutting rope after rope and more of the net, and it slowly began to move around and began to let out some pretty big bellows from its blowhole," Gatto said.

A Coast Guard boat arrived in time to applaud the fisherman as the whale swam away.

The end of the rescue was caught on video by witness Joe Oehmeā€ˇ, who was on a nearby boat.

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"Very surreal to actually be alongside touching a creature of this size, with its huge eyes looking right at you," Gatto said.

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