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California gray whale entangled in netting freed by rescuers


Rescuers cut away netting from the fluke of a California gray whale off the coast of Dana Point Harbor, Calif.


A team of rescuers follow "Bart" the California gray whale for seven hours carefully sawing through discarded nylon fish netting that entangled the mammal off the Orange County coast.

Mike Johnson / DolphinSafari.com

A California gray whale, nicknamed named "Bart", swims free after rescuers spent seven hours freeing him from fish netting that entangled the mammal.

A California gray whale was spotted Friday night off the coast of Dana Point Harbor, Calif., covered in nearly 50 feet of fishing wire. Rescue crews suspected it had been dragging the nylon netting, which was filled with dead sea animals, for nearly a week.

The rescue involved seven tiring hours of sawing through the nylon as rescue crews followed the whale for mile after mile out to sea.

"It was getting very frightening towards the end of the day because we were running out of time," David Anderson of DolphinSafari.com told NBCLosAngeles.com.

Crews were using grappling hooks and lines to reel in the mammal and a knife to cut away debris, according to The LA Times. Then, at last, a line snapped as the whale dived down, and was free.

More than 1,000 whales and dolphins die in fishing nets every day said Anderson, and he was happy to be able to save one.

--Msnbc.com wire services contributed to this report

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A California gray whale is moving freely after rescuers spent seven hours untangling it from a discarded fishing net. KNBC-TV's Vikki Vargas reports.

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