Search continues for entangled blue whale spotted off Dana Point coast

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The search for an entangled blue whale spotted off the coast of Dana Point continued Tuesday. (KABC)

The search for an entangled blue whale spotted off the coast of Dana Point continued Tuesday.

A blue whale was spotted about six miles southwest of Dana point around 12:30 p.m. Monday. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said the whale is believed to be the same one that was spotted about 30 miles from the San Diego coast on Sunday.

Officials also said they believe the 70- to 80-foot whale is entangled in 200 feet of crab trap lines or shrimp fishing gear. If it continues to swim, the mammal could become fatally exhausted.

Capt. Dave Anderson, with Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari, said he and his team tried cutting the fishing line from the whale Monday, but failed when it dove underwater.

As daylight began to fade that night, rescue crews attached a tracking buoy to the whale to follow it overnight, but had to remove it. Crews said it should still have a red buoy attached to it.

Anderson and his team went back out Tuesday morning to search for the whale, but have no idea where it could have traveled. He said the whale appeared to be exhausted and moving very slowly.

"Blue whales are highly endangered so for this animal to be entangled, we really want to help it. We did everything we could yesterday. It was really heartbreaking to be so close to that animal," he said.

Anderson and his crew are working with NOAA to find the whale as quickly as possible. He remembers what happened to another whale they nicknamed Lily who they freed from tangled fishing lines back in 2010 along the harbor.

"Lily was a really sad deal. We disentangled her, but it was too late. She died about four or five days later," he said.

Anderson said he's not sure how much longer that whale will survive if it's not found and disentangled soon.
Related Topics:
newswild animalswhaleanimal rescuewater rescueDana PointOrange County
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