PROVINCETOWN, Maine, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Marine rescuers in Massachusetts rescued a young humpback whale after witnessing it become tangled in a buoy line.
The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown said the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team was on a research cruise with the center's Humpback Whale Studies Program Dec. 20 when they saw the young humpback become tangled.
"In a rare, chance occurrence, the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team witnessed the whale become entangled," the center said in a Facebook post. "Within an hour the team helped remove the gear from the whale."
The team said the whale was clearly in distress.
"When the whale resurfaced nearby it was rolling and thrashing, clearly upset. It happened shockingly fast" said Scott Landry, director of the MAER program.
The humpback started swimming away with the fishing gear in tow, so the MAER team gave chase.
"The team also reacted quickly and threw a grappling hook into the gear being towed by the whale. With a sixty foot length of rope and a large float, the grapple marked the whale during dives and helped slow the whale," the Facebook post said.
The whale was freed about an hour after becoming tangled and did not appear to be injured, the team said.