Second Rescue Effort Fails to Help Entangled Blue Whale in Waters Off Dana Point

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A blue whale is shown, apparently entangled in some kind of fishing line, off the coast of Dana Point on June 27, 2016. (Credit: Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari)

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A rare attempt to free a blue whale tangled in crab fishing lines off the coast of California ended in failure Tuesday when rescuers were unable to locate the creature after removing a tracking buoy the night before.

“We lost him,” said Captain Dave Anderson, a rescue effort organizer and owner of Dana Point-based Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari. “It breaks my heart to see a whale like that. It’s so hard when you’re so close to helping, we were just inches away.”

The whale was first spotted Monday dragging a pair of fishing lines in its wake. Anderson said markings on the lines revealed that the crab traps had been set in Morro Bay, and probably weighed 100 to 300 pounds. The trap lines, which appeared to stretch some 500 feet, were digging into the whale’s tail, or flukes, and causing it to become exhausted through stress and sheer effort, he said.

“If this whale isn’t helped I don’t think it can last. I would say it’s probably going to be a month ... then it could die,” he said.

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