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Rescuers search for whale calf tangled in net off O.C. coast

March 29, 2012 |  8:24 am

Gray whale calf tangled in net off Huntington Beach
Marine specialists are looking for a whale calf and its mother Thursday morning after the younger mammal became caught in a fishing net off Huntington Beach this week.

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel first spotted the whales on Wednesday. Then, from a helicopter, it appeared the 20-foot calf was tangled in some discarded fishing net.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center spent several hours trying to rescue the baby whale.

They attached two large, orange buoys to the calf to help it swim. But the crew was forced to leave because it was getting dark and waters were rough. It's unclear where the whales are now, though the rescuers said they appeared to be heading north.

This is the second rescue effort involving a gray whale tangled in netting in just five days. On Saturday, a young gray whale was rescued off the coast of Dana Point after getting caught in 50 feet of fishing net.

Officials are asking the public to be on the lookout for the whale calf Thursday and to call the Marine Mammal Center at (949) 494-3050 if the animal is spotted.

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-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: The U.S. Coast Guard spotted a whale calf tangled in net on Wednesday. Credit: KTLA-TV