A dramatic scene unfolded Friday off the coast of Channel Islands as rescuers worked to free a huge humpback whale that was tethered to fishing lines.
The hapless animal was discovered a day before four miles off Santa Cruz Island tangled and unable to swim more than a few yards.
Biologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationused began the rescue operation around 9 a.m. and used specially fabricated equipment to free the whale.
It took six grueling hours for rescuers to release the colossal cetacean from a series of shrimp pots linked by fishing lines.
Working from large boats rescuers deployed a small inflatable craft with three aboard. Using specially made cutters and underwater cameras the whale was freed and swam into the sunset.
Ventura Marina Assist Captain Paul Amaral assisted in the operation and provided the images to NBC4.