A trapped humpback whale in waters south of Sydney near Port Kembla has been freed after a grueling eight-hour rescue mission.
The whale, caught in a series of lines and floats, proved a challenge for rescuers to disentangle when weather conditions deteriorated and recovery attempts were thwarted by other whales in the area.
“A series of lines and floats were coming out of the whale,” Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Glenn Sullivan told AAP.
A specialized whale-disentangling team from the National Parks Wildlife Service joined the operation shortly after noon.
But with a shifting southerly wind, a fading light and other whales in the area, it took rescuers more than eight hours to free the mammal, which untangled just after 4:30 p.m.
“Rescue teams are over the moon,” Sullivan said. “Now it’s swimming under its own steam.”
Whale migration begins in May, when the mammals head north before beginning their southward journey in August. The high season of the season runs from June to July.
Many tourists along Australia’s east coast will hope to catch a glimpse of the 40,000 to 50,000 Humpback whales are expected to pass this migration season.
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