RESCUERS launch second attempt to reach whale entangled in fishing line off Massachusetts

Tuesday, July 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) _ Marine scientists launched a second rescue attempt Tuesday to remove fishing line embedded in the infected jaw of an endangered right whale off the Massachusetts coast.

Teri Frady of the National Marine Fisheries Service said the crew will use a different drug to attempt to sedate the whale, which did not respond to a sedative used in a failed rescue attempt June 26.

The heavy nylon fishing rope has caused a serious infection that could eventually kill the 50-foot-long, 50-ton male whale, one of only about 300 right whales left in the world.

The rescue crew, which includes three veterinarians, left Provincetown at 7:15 a.m., and should reach the animal around midday.

Aircraft will attempt to direct the vessel to the whale. Coast Guard rescue divers also will accompany the team, Frady said.

The whale was first spotted June 8, about 80 miles east of Cape Cod. The next day, scientists attached a tracking buoy to the animal.

Entanglement and ship strikes are considered a major cause of mortality for Atlantic right whales and a significant danger to the future of the species.