Spearfishing Duo Stage Dramatic Rescue of Whale Entangled in Ropes

A spearfishing trip off the coast of Redhead Beach in New South Wales was the scene for an incredible rescue of a whale calf that had become entangled in ropes on July 2.

Local men Korben Donaldson and Mark Di Nardo cut the whale loose after Di Nardo’s daughter, Kate, spotted “buoys out in the distance” that were “coming towards” their boat. She soon realized it was a whale in distress.

Speaking to Australian media outlet NBN News, Donaldson said, “In the spur of the moment we just decided to, y’know, jump in and help it.”

Donaldson was the first to swim out to the whale, and in footage recorded by Di Nardo’s daughter and another of the spearfishing party, Stu Glover, he can be seen attending to the whale for several minutes.

He told NBN that he when he first arrived alongside the whale “its face…. looked at me… and the boat was behind me,” a moment where he said he thought to himself, “I dunno if I feel comfortable in this situation right now.”

After that, though, he said the whale stopped moving and “let me do what I jumped in the water to do, and I was pretty comfortable.”

Di Nardo then jumped into the water to help the rescue, as the two freed the whale from “three lines” of rope around a fin, and a “ball entanglement” of rope “sitting under its tail.”

In the aftermath of the rescue, the whale slowly makes its way past the party’s boat, letting out several loud noises, with one member of the party wondering aloud: “You reckon that’s ‘thank you’?’” Credit: Stu Glover via Storyful