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Laguna Beach rescue crew racing toward whale

April 17, 2012 |  4:39 pm

The fluke of a gray whale from rescue effort off Orange County last month.


A crew from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center has been dispatched in an effort to help rescue a whale that may have become tangled in a line off the coast of Laguna Beach.

It would mark the third whale rescue in a month off the Orange County coastline, though in the other incidents the mammals had become entangled in netting, and even a set off buoys.

Melissa Sciacca, the director of development at the center, said it was too early to tell whether the whale was indeed entangled. She said a rescue crew was en route.

If the whale is tangled, a three-person team traveling in a small boat will attach itself to the whale, attempt to remove the line or whatever is restraining it, and then release it back into the ocean.

Sciacca said it was a dangerous operation.

Last month, two California gray whales were tangled in netting or fishing gear off the Orange County coast and were later rescued, though one of the whales may have later died.

In one of the rescues last month, boaters tracked the whale from Dana Point to Rancho Palos Verdes before they could get close enough to cut the netting, fishing gear and even buoys from the animal.

Gray whales swim north along the California coast each year as part of their annual migration, with their numbers in Southern California peaking in recent weeks.

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--Joanna Clay

Twitter: @joannaclay

Photo: The fluke of a gray whale from rescue effort off Orange County last month. Credit: DolphinSafari.com

 

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