By AUDREY McAVOYAssociated Press
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii officials are looking for a humpback whale that appears to be caught in fishing gear and is dragging red buoys.
The animal most recently was spotted off Niihau, Hawaii's smallest inhabited island.
Ed Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary said Thursday that fishing line seems to be wrapped across the whale's body and tail.
He says about 50 to 60 feet of heavy gauge line appears to be trailing behind the animal. Two red plastic buoys are caught in the gear.
Lyman says a Holo Holo Charters tour boat captain and a Niihau Helicopters pilot both saw the whale off Niihau's north side Tuesday. The whale was later spotted off Niihau's leeward coast.
Marine mammal response teams are hoping to find the animal so they can attempt to cut it free.
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