A day at sea started like any other for a group of fishermen off the coast of San Diego, California.
Matt Cabron and his four friends spent the evening wrestling a 180-pound bluefin tuna from the waters about 100 miles from Point Loma. It took the men an hour and a half to land the massive catch, and they assumed the experience would be the best part of their trip by far. They were wrong.
The next day, the fishermen noticed a young whale that had become entangled in the ropes leading down to a lobster trap on the ocean’s floor.
“I said, ‘Hey, there’s a whale on this paddy,’” Matt recalled.
They pulled the boat up alongside the animal and noticed that the line was wrapped around the whale, trapping it so it couldn’t swim free.
“It couldn’t move because it was essentially attached to the bottom of the ocean,” said Matt. “It was probably between four to seven feet down. The rope was attached to its body right before the fluke, and it was looped six or seven times,” Matt said. That’s when he decided to dive in to help.
This story originally appeared on InspireMore.
Matt grabbed a filet knife, took a deep breath, and plunged into the water near the whale. His friend recorded the whole rescue, and the video shows Matt repeatedly diving beneath the surface to slice the ropes away from the whale’s body. Within just a few short minutes, the whale was free!
“Saved a whale today!” shouted Matt’s friend from the boat. Matt later said that he didn’t hesitate to jump in because “being in the water with a whale” was such an incredible experience.
“We’re just so fortunate that we came upon it when we did,” he said. “It was probably one of the highlights of my life. Honestly.”
Thanks to Matt and his friends, this young whale has a chance to grow up. You just never know when you’ll be in the right place at the right time when nature needs a little help!
Watch the dramatic rescue below.
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