A juvenile humpback whale that got tangled in fishing gear and had been stranded off the Rhode Island coast over the weekend freed itself and swam off Monday as rescuers sought to aid it.
The 30-foot whale managed to squirm free of the tangled lines and swim back out to sea, said Janelle Schuh, the stranding coordinator at the Mystic Aquarium in nearby Mystic, Conn.
Witnesses first reported seeing the mammal Friday about a quarter-mile offshore and assumed it was feeding on bait fish. On Sunday, a volunteer for the aquarium's stranding network happened to be boating in the area and noticed that the whale was tangled in what appeared to be a fishing net and perhaps rope, Schuh said.
Wildlife experts said the whale appeared thin and had several lacerations near its dorsal fin.
Biologists from the state Department of Environmental Management and other groups spent much of Monday morning trying to free the humpback whale, a member of an endangered species. ( AP )