A humpback whale which became tangled in ropes from lobster pots off the east coast has been freed.
The 40ft long, 40 ton whale first became trapped in a line from lobster pots off St Abbs on Tuesday afternoon. The crew from a prawn trawler managed to cut it free but it swam off with the rope still attached and what appeared to be a large cut on its tail.
On Wednesday, planes were sent up to try and find the humpback in the sea near Dunbar where it was last seen. After two separate flights did not find the whale, the operation was scaled back. But then the mammal was spotted off the coast and divers started to make their way out to it.
It was once again trapped in lines from another set of lobster pots around a mile from the shore. The weight of the tangled ropes and an estimated 30 pots had effectively anchored the mammal to the seabed.
A spokesman from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Unit (BDMLR) said they used specialist equipment to untangle the whale.
Ali Jack, national organiser of BDMLR for Scotland, said: "We identified which line was coming from the whale and used six buoys to mark it.
"We managed to cut the line and at first the whale took off with the six buoys attached to it. It was like a scene from Jaws if you can imagine. We chased him for a bit in the lobster boat and cut the line with the buoys away."
Mr Jack said the whale, which was freed just before dark, appeared to have some injuries sustained during its attempts to escape.
He said: "There were some wounds on the body as you could expect after the struggle. It might be a bit sore for a while but there was nothing we would consider as life-threatening.
"This rescue could not have taken place without the help of RNLI Dunbar, we simply could not have done it without them."
Rescuers freed the whale by cutting the lines connecting the boat to the lobster pots.
Stuart Skene is the skipper of the Boy Andrew, the prawn trawler from Eyemouth which caught the whale on Tuesday.
He said: "It was about 40ft long, the same length as our boat. The rope was tangled round its tail and it seemed to be in a pretty bad way. I didn’t like seeing it like that, I wanted to try and get it free if I could.
"We did everything we could for it but it tried to swim away every time we get close. Once the rope broke off that was all we could really do. The rope had been rubbing right in to its tail and had cut right in."