Man films whale rescue off Virginia Beach coast

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by Eric Kane, 13News Now

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:35 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- An ordinary fishing trip turned into a heart-pumping adventure for Adrian Colaprete.   

Last Friday, Colaprete and Pat Foster were about 50 miles off the coast of  Virginia Beach looking for tuna.    

They found an endangered Right Whale caught in fishing straps, struggling to swim.

"You could see the lines wrapped around his pectoral fins," said Colaprete. "It was actually dugged into his skin a little bit."
    
Colaprete -- an experienced diver -- decided to observe the entanglement from underwater.

"I told him first of all, before we got in there, I said it's a big animal, don't endanger yourself or the fish, obviously or the mammal," Foster told 13News Now.

Colaprete added, "I was kind of worried about how the whale was going to react with me in the water."

Armed with a Go-Pro camera and a knife, Colaprete swam to the side of the whale.

"When the whale slowed down, I had my knife ready," he said, " and I said I'm going to take the opportunity, swam down there made one single cut," explained Colaprete, who watched as the fishing traps fell to the ocean floor. With one final flip of a tail, the whale swam off.
   
"It's something bigger than me," Colaprete noted, "and I had the feeling when I accomplished it and I was done with it, it was probably one of the best feelings of my life."

People with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team encourage anyone who comes across any sea life in trouble to contact them at 757-385-7575. The hotline is available 24 hours a day.

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