Man Hailed A Hero For Jumping Into Ocean To Free Baby Whale Trapped In Netting
An Australian man has been hailed a hero for jumping into the ocean to free a baby whale that was trapped in netting.
The bloke, known only as Django, was spotted by a drone diving into waters off the Gold Coast after he noticed the majestic animal was struggling to swim.
"I saw a whale and thought, 'that's pretty cool'," he told 7News. "I saw it was in the net and thought, 'well, that's not that cool'. Basically I just tried to untangle him."
Django was in his tinny off Burleigh Heads and called the Queensland Department of Fisheries about the whale in distress. However, when he noticed that time was of the essence, he took matters into his own hands.
The whale, believed to be a humpback, was decently tangled in the netting and kept diving down below the surface, making it difficult for Django to free it.
He told reporters that thankfully he's pretty experienced with free diving, so was able to stomach going deep into the ocean.
"But because of the adrenaline, about 2m [down] my heart was just pumping...so that's why I had to keep coming up and going down," he said.
While many were cheering him on social media, he was met with the prospect of getting a hefty fine in the mail. Queensland law prevents anyone from tampering with a shark net or coming in close proximity to a whale, so he could be hit with a double whammy.
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According to 7News, he could have copped a fine of up to $27,000 for the offences.
Django continued: "I'm in trouble. It was an expensive day, but whatever. There are laws. They [fisheries officials] do a good job. It is what it is. I thought most people would have done it. You just got to pay the price sometimes."
Thankfully, the Queensland fisheries department has decided to issue him an official warning.
When news circulated that he was going to cop a fine, an online fundraiser was started to help Django.
The GoFundMe managed to raise more than $15,000 and stated: "A local guy now a legend in the eyes of the local community rescued a baby whale stuck in shark nets off Burleigh Headland.
"The authorities have now fined this legend. This page is to cover the cost of his fine, as we are unsure yet what that amount will be ($1,300 - $55,000) any money raised over and above his fine will go to a charity that specialises in research and education for these great mammals."
Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner warned people should leave this type of thing to the professionals.
"I encourage people to allow the professionals to do their job and make sure they release any marine life that may be unfortunately caught up in this equipment," Mr Furner said. "It is dangerous equipment, we have obviously seen loss of life of people themselves being entangled."
Featured Image Credit: 7News/Envoy Cull