Entangled Humpback Rescued Off Lahaina

(KHNL) - For the second time in two weeks, authorities have to save a humpback whale. And for the second time, they say they saved the life of one of the world's most endangered creatures.

Scientists say they know they're not going to cut every whale free, but they say what happened Friday was a good thing. and it took an effort by everyone in the community.

The humpback was spotted by several tourboats off lahaina, dragging thick lines and buoys.

"It was actually pretty bad off," said Ed Lyman, of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and one of the three men to free the whale. "It had line in its mouth, and this is heavy line. This is line that was approaching one inch in diameter."

Scientists say the entanglement was life threatening.

"The line on the whales back on both sides, was just twisted against his back and was just chaffing hard and causing pretty nasty wounds across the back," said Lyman.

Using an inflatable boat, the three man team trailed the whale and used more buoys to slow him down. At that point, they used a knife attached to a long pole, and cut him free.

"Those wounds will heal," said Lyman. "I've seen much worse so again, this animal has a fighting chance of surviving."

This is the second whale to be freed in two weeks, and the 9th since October.

There were just seven reported entanglements all last season. With three months left this whale season, authorities are investigating this incident closely.

"We're gonna take that information from the gear and basically take it towards reducing the rate of entanglements.," said Lyman. "prevention -- that's the way to solve the problem."

Authorities say they have the buoy numbers from this entanglement, and will use that to track down where the lines came from.

It's estimated between two and five-thousand whales migrate to hawaii's waters every year.