Eight metre humpback whale rescued from line of whelk pots

Lifeboats News Release

The 15 ton whale had been feeding with her calf in Start Bay for the last three weeks when she became caught by her tail by a heavy line of whelk pots.

The RNLI Dart D class inshore lifeboat launched to assist and provide safety cover for divers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organisation. The lifeboat took two divers out to assess the situation and they found that the whale had become snared by a line of pots that was anchored to the sea bed a quarter of a mile off Blackpool Sands in Start Bay, South Devon. Cutting equipment was brought out from the beach and initially the crew and the drivers attempted to pull the line close enough to the lifeboat to cut it. When this was shown to be impractical the all weather lifeboat from Salcombe was asked to assist and two of their crew were put aboard the fishing boat belonging to the owner of the pots, with the divers and members of the Dart lifeboat crew. The whale was then gently guided closer by pulling on the line until it became possible for a diver to reach down from the side of the fishing boat and to cut the line. When she had been freed the whale sped off and joined her calf.

The diver leant down from the fishing boat to cut the whale free


The humpback whale was cut free from the line of pots
The 15 ton whale was gently pulled alongside the lifeboat in an attempt to cut it free.


the whale was initially gently brought alongside the lifeboat to try to cut the rope.
As soon as the rope was cut the mother whale sped off to join her calf.


As soon as the rope was cut the mother whale sped off to join her calf.

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