WILMINGTON, N.C., March 25 (UPI) -- A U.S. rescue team said it is planning to disentangle rope and buoys Friday from the endangered right whale trapped off the North Carolina coast.
The attempt will be made with the help of expert divers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. It is the first time divers have been used in a whale disentanglement operation. The juvenile male whale is off North Carolina's south coast.
"We are cautiously optimistic about saving this whale," said Teri Rowles, lead veterinarian for NOAA Fisheries and the head of the nation's Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. "We have assembled some of the best scientists and experts in the world in this effort, and we are going to give it another try tomorrow. We are pleased
that the dive team may be able to help."
If weather permits, the team will locate the whale and attempt to remove as much rope and gear as they can. The team plans to sedate the whale to slow its movement and use specially constructed tools to try to remove the lines and the buoys that are wrapped around the whale's body.