Divers from Spain were able to save a huge whale that was caught in an illegal drift net off the Balearic Islands of Mallorca. The whale was 12 meters long and weighed 10 tons.
This is the third time someone has seen a humpback whale in the water near the Balearics.
During the rescue, one of the divers, Gigi Torras, told Reuters, “It was like out of this world; it was incredible, just incredible.” He also said that this was the “best present ever” for her birthday.
A ship that was about three miles (4.83 km) from the island of Mallorca saw the whale in trouble. Then they called the Marine Rescue Center at the Palma de Mallorca Aquarium. When that happened, this whale was caught in a red net and couldn’t even open its mouth.
They came by boat and tried to cut the net, but their first attempts didn’t work. Divers from the Albatros and Skualo Dive Centers joined the effort and went into the water for a scary 45-minute operation to cut the net away with their knives.
“For the first ten seconds, she was a little nervous, like there were bubbles everywhere. But then, I don’t know; call me crazy, but I think she knew we were there to help her, and she just calmed down. We started working from the front of her mouth backwards, and then from the front to the back of her mouth. The Albatrol Dive Center is owned by Torras, who said as much.
“We just kept cutting and cutting, and she moved a little bit to get out of it,” Torras said.
The animal stayed with the four divers for a while while she got her strength back. She also gave them a “thank you” sign before swimming away.
The United Nations banned these drift nets 30 years ago. That’s because, in addition to the fish they want to catch, they catch a lot of other marine animals.