Animal rescue stories are the best, but when it’s about huge animals in need of help, the rescue mission is very difficult and life-threatening! A stressed out animal can react badly, and when it comes to saving an entangled whale twisting in the water, the rescuers are constantly in danger of being badly injured with just a swoop of a tail!
Nicholas Taron and Sam Synstelien were going home after fishing an saw a buoy being dragged by a whale. It was obvious that the creature was tangled in rope, so they decided to help it. How did they do it?
20. FISHING LINES
Usually, whales get entangled in fishing lines or the nets used in maritime activities, but fishermen have a chance to help them by alerting the authorities who will send a rescue team. However, in this case, a fisherman actually jumped in the water to free the whale. Here is what Taron said about the whale…
19. MORRO BAY
Sam Synstelien and Nicholas Taron are commercial eel fishermen, and they spotted a humpback whale in Morro Bay as it was struggling to escape from a rope. In an interview, Taron – who shot the video of the rescue, said that the whale “was just swimming in counter-clockwise circles,” which meant one thing…
18. SPLASHING AT THE SURFACE
“You could tell he was stressed and being held to the bottom,” added Taron. Then, the two said that they reported the incident to the Coast Guard, adding that the “white buoy that was wrapped around the whale’s tail.” They saw the animal splashing on the surface of the water!
17. TANGLED UP
The crew explained that the whale was “tangled up in all that rope.” At first, they didn’t know what it was. The first thing they did after notifying the Coast Guard was to cut the buoy free, but it didn’t help the whale escape… All of that took them almost an hour and a half.
What did the Coast Guard tell them?
16. YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING MORE…
“The Coast Guard kind of finally said there’s nothing else you can do,” Taron explained. But Sam didn’t want to give up on the poor whale, so they took matters into their hands. Taron upped the volume on the radio and yelled at the whale…
15. YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN!
Taron said in an interview to the Washington Post that he yelled to the whale: “We’re your only hope. No one is coming here. You’re either going to let Sam jump on you — or you’re on your own.” Sam looked at the whale and couldn’t believe its reaction!
14. IT GOT THE MESSAGE!
Sam thinks that the whale got the idea. It seemed that the whale was caught in the rope and somehow it was attached to the bottom of the ocean. He decided he couldn’t leave the poor creature struggle and finally die, so he decided to save it on his own…
13. HE JUMPED ON THE WHALE
Sam didn’t get to jump on the whale in the first two tries, but on his third attempt, he managed to leap on its back. Then, he tried to cut the ropes as fast as he could, while Taron that was filming the entire rescue mission yelled at him to make it quick as the whale might start diving!
12. GET IT!
“Get it, get it before she dives!” shouted Nicholas at Sam in the video. Nicholas said that Sam crawled up on the whale’s back and then the whale shook its tail. Nicholas almost lost his grip on the phone as he saw Sam cutting one of the ropes…
11. THE WHALE WAS FREE
“And that’s when all the rest of the line fell back in the water and the whale swam free,” said Nicholas. In the end, they were successful and the whale was free once again. The humpback then goes for a deep dive and leaves behind his rescuers that can be heard cheering!
10. DON’T TRY THAT!
According to the officials, the courageous act was not the right way to deal with this situation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Fisheries’ spokesman Justin Veizbicke stated in a press release that: “We’ve had people die trying to get in the water, and just last year, we lost one of our responders.”
9. IS THERE ENOUGH TIME TO SAVE THEM?
The NOAA explained that the animals trapped in such lines might seem like they’re in a stressful situation, but they can survive days, weeks and even months before being rescued. The agency also explained that they were relieved that neither fishermen were harmed, but said the following…
8. LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS
“We fear this video is a very dangerous example, and may encourage others to attempt such a response in the future,” stated the press release, adding that trained responders have died during similar missions, even as they used the best methods and equipment.
7. HOW TO DEAL WITH AN ENTANGLED WHALE?
NOAA stated that the best way to help a whale is not to get into the water with them, “as these animals are very powerful and dangerous in close proximity.”
Nonetheless, the two brave fishermen’s deed reached the news, and they soon became famous!
6. ELLEN’S SHOW
Sam Synstelien and Nicholas Taron were invited by Ellen on her show after their video went viral. The two recalled all the moments of their rescue mission and had a blast on the set…
5. A GREAT SURPRISE
Ellen did not just invite Sam and Nicholas to tell their story, but to also give them a big surprise. They got life vests printed with awesome messages, and that is not all! Here is the biggest surprise ever at #2!
4. WE WERE PSYCHED
Taron recalls how happy they were they could save the whale: “We were psyched.” A month after posting their video, their story got viral on social media and then on the news. Now, at Ellen, surprises kept coming!
3. A DANGEROUS MISSION
Sam and Nicholas knew the danger they exposed themselves to. The two had a marine transportation license and would usually encounter sea life. None of them were in such a bad situation, though.
“Stay calm, we speak whale” is the quote that hinted at what Sam said about the whale understanding their message on the radio.
2. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS
Ellen told them that hopefully, they would not need to do this anymore, but just in case, she gave them the life jackets and then Shutterfly sent them each a check of $10,000 for their brave act!
1. A FRIENDLY GIANT
At the end of the day, Sam and Nicholas are both happy they could save the whale, concluding that they only did it to “help out a friendly giant.” We are so happy that the story has a happy ending and nobody got hurt in the process!