Italian Coast Guard divers work to free a whale caught in a fishing net off the coast of Lipari, Italy, in this video screengrab dated June 26, 2020.
Italian Coast Guard divers work to free a whale caught in a fishing net off the coast of Lipari, Italy, in this video screengrab dated June 26, 2020. (Credit: Italian Coast Guard/Handout)

The Italian Coast Guard has released video of a team of divers who successfully freed a ten-meter long sperm whale that had become trapped in an illegal fishing net in the Mediterranean Sea, off Italy’s southwestern coast. 

The coast guard says four biologists working in the area alerted them about the whale after they spotted it struggling in the water about nine kilometers from Salina island.

The whale got trapped in large fishing net, which was preventing its tail fin from moving.

Coast guard sailors first tried to free the whale from onboard their rescue boat, but the fin was so tangled, several divers had to enter the water to cut the whale loose.

Once it was freed the sperm whale slowly started swimming and reached three other whales who were apparently waiting for him not far away.

The coast guard said the fishing net was not legal and has been confiscated.

The deep-diving sperm whales were once prized by whalers around the world and were hunted to near extinction. After being designated as an endangered species, the whales are making a comeback around the world.