Fisherman jumps into ocean to save humpback whale tangled in rope

Written by on November 2, 2018 in Critter MIA - No comments

Experts will say nobody should do this unless you’re an expert.

But Samuel Synstelien did. He, and fellow commercial eel fisherman, Nicholas Taron, thought they had no choice.

They were going to save a humpback whale off the coast of California tangled in a buoy and fishing gear, which was dragging it down.

After watching the whale struggle for an hour and a fruitless call to the Coast Guard, it became apparent — at least to them — nobody was coming to help the animal.

“(The whale) was just swimming in counter-clockwise circles,” said Taron, who shot the incredible video, told local NBC. “You could tell he was stressed and being held to the bottom.”

At Taron’s urging, Synstelien leapt from the boat, into the freezing water and onto the back of the whale. Three times he did this before finally cutting the line.

That was back in September.

But only now the effort is being hailed as both heroic and dangerous.

“Saving Humanity,” the team wrote on Instagram. “…With no other options F/V Persistence getting the job done.”

 “This is going to sound super crazy,” Taron told MSN. “…I turned up the volume really loud on the VHF radio and yelled at the whale and told him to listen, and no one else was coming for him, and we’re his only hope, and he better lay still and let us do this or else he’s going to die. And this is going to sound super crazy but he did.”

Photo FV Persistence/Instagram

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About the Author

Dawn Walton

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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