Whale rescue abandoned due to rough conditions

A young whale that was fighting to break free from fishing line is missing after authorities decided the waters were too treacherous to conduct an immediate rescue Tuesday.

A young whale, less than 50 feet in length and possibly a calf, was seen about 200 yards offshore from Beach Boulevard in Pacifica about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said. The whale was towing about 10 feet of netting most likely attached to a crab pot or lobster trap and could not break free, said Joe Cordaro, wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Firefighters responded early Tuesday morning but the waters were too treacherous to send out a rescue boat, said Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Mieke Eerkens. Instead, mammal center officials climbed aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and searched for the whale several hours later but were unable to find it, Cordaro said.

As a result, rescuers have no idea where the whale is, or what condition it is in, Cordaro said. They cannot continue searching unless the whale is sighted again, he said.

“If it’s moving fast, chances are it’s in good shape now,” Cordaro said. “Six months from now, who knows.”

Jay Nishida, a regular fisherman at the beach’s pier, said the whale had been in the area for two days before it became tangled Tuesday and that it was very close to the beach before struggling to swim away Tuesday morning.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalMarine Mammal CenterPacifica

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

SF mayor, supervisor tested after exposure to COVID-19

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton were notified Wednesday that they… Continue reading

‘No timetable’ for cable car return, SFMTA says

How the temporary absence of cable cars means more than just a loss of transit routes

As city schools weigh reopening, doubts about safety dominate conversations with teachers

‘If I don’t feel safe as an educator, how am I going to be prepared to teach?’

Breed’s bond for parks and homelessness gains support as it grows by nearly $50M

Renovation of Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square added to proposal

Health department guidelines for schools set rigorous standards for social distance, cleanliness

Health department guidance issued Wednesday for in-person instruction at San Francisco schools… Continue reading

Most Read