Crab fishermen working off the northern California coast have managed to free a grey whale that was tangled in a large fishing line and that had disappeared after a previous rescue attempt, US federal wildlife officials said.
Fisherman Mark Anello was out on his 48-foot wooden crab boat about three and a half miles off the coast near Bodega Bay, located about 67 miles north of San Francisco.
A fourth-generation fisherman, Mr Anello noticed something odd near his boat: three buoys floating nearby were moving. He motored closer to investigate.
Mr Anello and two others on his boat the Point Ommaney found the orange and white buoys connected to a whale that measured close to the length of his vessel, said Tony Anello, Mark's father.
"They come up slowly alongside the whale, and the whale started fighting at first," the elder Mr Anello said. "Then the whale decided to calm down."
Using 12-foot bamboo poles with hooks on the end, Mark Anello and his crew spent 90 minutes freeing the 40-ton mammal, which had been nicknamed June by rescuers who had earlier tried to free the marine mammal.
Once the creature was free from the ropes, nets and buoys it took a lap around the vessel.
"The whale circled the boat, surfaced and took off," Tony Anello said. "It was like it was saying thank you."