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Rescuers free 40-ton whale from fishing line

40-ton whale rescued from tangled fishing lin... 00:42

Whoever originally set the fishing lines, they probably weren't expecting a 40-ton single catch, but that's just what happened recently off the coast of Hawaii.

Members of the West Hawaii Marine Mammal Response Network, many of which had just done a refresher training two days before, worked quickly and carefully to free an adult humpback whale from a tangle of fishing lines.

Observers report the giant mammal spent at least the better part of a week dealing with the issue.

The whale's tale was wrapped several times around with the synthetic line, forcing the whale to rely primarily on its flippers to swim, reports CBS affiliate KGMB in Honolulu.

Efforts to free the 45-foot-long whale began the day it was spotted. On the prior freeing attempts, marine experts attached a tag to the whale in order to track it with satellites.

There is still six feet of line embedded in the wound, but experts say the remaining fragment should fall out on its own over time.

Ed Lyman, a large whale entanglement response coordinator, told KGMB he believes the whale has a great chance of surviving and returning to its normal life prior to entanglement

"The fact that the lines are gone now... That's a big plus and I think her health is still good... You know sometimes you worry about the fact that well you may have cut the animal free but it will never survive anyway... In this case I think the animal has a very good chance of surviving it's ordeal," said Lyman.

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