ANTOFAGASTA Jan 5 A Chilean family spent their
traditional New Year's sea outing rescuing a humpback whale
entangled in fishing nets close to a beach in the port city of
Mejillones, Chilean media reported.
Juan Menares, 52, who owns a sea tourism company, and his
family were enjoying their boat trip, when they spotted the
humpback whale in distress, about 500 metres (1,640 feet) from
The family took a closer look at the 10-metre (32 foot)
whale after noticing it was not moving and saw that its tail fin
had become entangled in a fishing net, local media reported.
Two of Menares' children took four dives to cut the mesh off
the whale -- a manoeuvre that was risky due to the size of the
mammal and the weight of the rope.
Once the net was cut off the whale and lifted out of the
water, the humpback shook itself free and swam back out to sea.
"That feeling after doing something good,...more than
family, and for me, family is something special, fills me with
joy, fills me with pride", Menares said.
According to Carlos Guerra, director of the Regional Centre
for Environmental Studies and Education at the University of
Antofagasta, the size and corks attached to the net indicated
that it was an industrial net used in fishing.
Guerra added that this is the second time recently that a
humpback whale had been trapped in fishing nets. The last time
the humpback was washed up dead south of the city of Tocopilla.
(Reporting by Reuters Television, Writing by Karishma Singh)