Crews free entangled humpback whale first spotted off Newport Beach

SAN DIEGO (KABC) -- Crews in San Diego have successfully freed a humpback whale that was first spotted entangled in some type of fishing line off the coast of Orange County on Friday.

A whale watching boat first saw the distressed whale off Newport Beach and tracked it south until marine rescuers arrived. It was dragging more than 200 feet of line, attached with lobster pods. A portion of the rope was cut on Friday.

By late afternoon, the whale was swimming further south off Laguna Beach.

SeaWorld crews said they and San Diego lifeguards were notified at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday that the whale was spotted off La Jolla Cove. They then used boats to reach the whale, which was estimated to be between 40 and 50 feet long.

"The SeaWorld Rescue Team believes they were able to cut enough of the gear off of the whale for it to swim away and survive," SeaWorld spokeswoman Kelly Terry stated in a news release.

At last check, the whale was heading south.

This is the fourth time in recent months whale watchers have witnessed a large mammal in distress. An entangled humpback whale was spotted off the coast of Rancho Palos Verdes on Oct. 18.
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