Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 (Sam Accourt). The much-loved “Start Bay whale” has been rescued after becoming trapped in ropes from crab or lobster pots.
Dart Lifeboat self launched yesterday at 13.30 hours to assist divers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue.
A spokesperson for Dart RNLI said : “A local fishing boat remained in the vacinity of the whale and divers were transferred from the beach to the fishing boat by Dart RNLI crew.
“Initially the divers thought they may be able to free the whale relatively easily. “However, the line was caught around the whale’s tail so it would have been extremely dangerous for the divers to be in the water if she whipped her tail back once free.
“Dart lifeboat requested Salcombe all weather lifeboat for assistance. Two crew of Dart lifeboat were already on the fishing boat where they were joined by two further crew from the Salcombe lifeboat.
“The divers eventually freed the whale successfully with no injuries sustained by the divers.
“Fantastic outcome. The whale was female and had a calf with her too.
“Great effort by all the emergency services, Dart and Prawl Coastguard, police, ambulance and paramedics. A truly emotional five hours.”
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue have since confirmed that the whale is alone and doesn’t have a calf with it.
Lifeboat Crew : Chris Tracey, Helm. Yorkie Lomas, Katy Locke Kevin Murphy Crew.
Shore Crew : Pete Callis.
Tim Coleman from BDMLR, said at the time: “We’re hopeful we will be able to help the whale, but nothing is guaranteed.
“Currently we have teams carrying out an initial assessment. Once we have made a full assessment of the situation we can work out a plan of action.
“We’re working as quickly and safely as possible, and we’re here for the animals so we will do all we can for it.”
You can find out more on the British Divers Marine Life Rescue website : http://www.BDMLR.org.uk
Video from Nigel Street