Full CoverageBreaking News
Researchers embark on lifesaving mission for a whaleUPDATED 10:59 PM HST Feb 19, 2014Video Transcript
protection they need. Tonight, a whale is swimming free, after being tangled in fishing line. Researchers say, the lifesaving mission happened the water's off Maui, but the whale still has a long road to recovery. This is the humpback entangled in a mess of thin fishing line.. wrapped around its mouth and flipper. THIS WOULD HAVE EVENTUALLY KILLED IT, FOR SURE. YOU KNOW, IT'S A SMALL GAUGE LINE, BUT IT'S STILL MORE THAN THEY CAN DEAL WITH. Tour operators spotted the animal - first on Sunday off the Big Island, then just this morning off Maui. Researchers rushed to the water...watch from Ed Lyman's helmet cam, as he uses a knife attached to a long pole - and listen to that line being cut! SOT FROM VIDEO 1 THERE'S THE LINE RIGHT THERE. SNIP YOU GOT IT ED! BASICALLY IT WAS WRAPPED AROUND THE EDGE WITH ABOUT SEVERAL FEET OF LINE TO A WHITE BOUY AT THE END, AND WE WERE ABLE TO GET A KNIFE ON THAT RACK THAT WAS OVER THE HEAD. AND WE THOUGHT IT WAS GONNA TAKE TWO CUTS BUT THAT ONE CUT DID EVERYTHING IT DID COME FROM THE MOUTH, IT SHED FROM THE MOUTH, AND THEN THAT RIGHT FLIPPER WAS CUTTING INTO IT, ABOUT TWO OR THREE INCHES, SO IT WAS A HAPPY ENDING. A happy ending, but this animal's story isn't over. Lyman says the whale has lost a lot of weight, but won't be able to feed until it makes the swim all the way back to the cool waters of Alaska. IT'S PRETTY SICK, THAT'S THE PROBLEM, SO IT HAS TO MAKE IT BACK TO ALASKA TO THAT DINNER TABLE TO START PUTTING THAT WEIGHT BACK ON. Lyman says this is the 9th entanglement this season alone. He says in this case - the whale was saved thanks to those tour operators who called in as soon as they spotted the animal in distress. So if you see something, make sure to call. More local news coming up...