Devon woman captures incredible footage of humpback whale rescue

Incredible footage captured by a Devon woman has surfaced showing the valiant efforts of RNLI volunteers as they rescued a humpback whale entangled in lobster pot lines off the coast of Cornwall. The whale, known to locals as Ivy, was spotted in distress in Mount's Bay.

Exeter-based Isabelle O'Shea, who had travelled to Cornwall hoping to catch a glimpse of the humpback whales that have become a common sight along the Cornish coastline, managed to film the dramatic rescue carried out by the lifesaving crew. The event unfolded near the fishing town of Newlyn, close to Penzance, at around 10am on Sunday, March 31.

Isabelle, who documents her marine encounters on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram under the alias 'The Dolphin Lady', shared the extraordinary video online and with CornwallLive. She expressed her admiration for the RNLI team and said: "Having driven to Cornwall for the weekend in the hope of seeing a humpback whale, I couldn't have anticipated the drama that unfolded off Newlyn this afternoon. A humpback whale, which has been identified as 'Ivy' and seen regularly off Porthleven recently, was spotted off Newlyn entangled in lobster pot lines.

"The local wildlife community was quick to act and British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the large whale disentanglement team were contacted. With the risk to the whale and the shipping community, the Penlee inshore lifeboat crew were able to respond.

"In very rough conditions and in peril from the distressed whale, they were able to free it from the ropes and stayed with it as it gathered itself before going on its way. Massive thanks and respect to the four crew members involved."

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Ivy was also spotted by Marine Discovery Penzance, a wildlife-watching tour company. Hannah Wilson, co-owner of the company, said the whale was "stuck fast".

She said: "Stuck fast, motionless, breathing only every three to four minutes, which isn't too bad. You know if they're panting or breathing every minute that's bad, but its breathing was fairly calm, but it was very stationary. So we don't know how long it had been."

Hannah said the whale was "silent and still" and said her team felt helpless due to strict instructions not to intervene amid the choppy conditions.

"I think, well who knows what they're thinking, but I think it may have had its struggle and was giving up," she reflected. Despite the challenging circumstances, the RNLI managed to cut the whale free from the entangling ropes.

"It's incredible what the guy at helm achieved because it was properly rough," Hannah said. "By then there was steep short chop, poor visibility, the whale started moving by this point.

"It was very impressive what he did. They cut the crucial rope, and the whale moved off, and that was that."