Rescue teams search for whale entangled in net

DANA POINT, Calif. (KABC) -- Rescuers with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center were dispatched Friday afternoon to locate and untangle an adult finback whale caught in a net two miles off the coast of Dana Point.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration notified the center after people on a fishing boat reporting sightings of the mammal. PMMC collaborated with SeaWorld Rescue, local fishermen and whale watching operators out of Dana Point to be part of the entanglement team.

A marine naturalist said it looked like heavy rope was wrapped around the whale. Officials said the whale is moving south toward San Diego and around 3:30 p.m. was spotted about three miles off the coast of San Onofre State Beach.

The rescue team were trying to locate the whale after it went beneath the surface of the water and continued to head south.

The whale was located in an area near San Diego around 9 p.m. but the netting or fishing line could not be removed, according to Jim Milbury, public affairs officer for NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. The netting was too tightly wound around the body of the whale and through its mouth.

Boats from Oceanside to San Diego will head out to try and help the large mammal first thing Saturday morning.
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