Hahei local rescues orca from crayfish pot

  • 07/02/2012

By Alex Bourn

There was a dramatic rescue off the Coromandel Coast this afternoon, after an orca became tangled in a crayfish pot.

Other orca gathered as the animal called for help.

Luckily a local diver managed to cut him free and capture some of the drama on film.

Diver Rhys Cochrane came to the rescue after he was alerted by the Department of Conservation this afternoon.

“The orca was just below the surface and the cray pot was on the bottom, but in order for him to come up and get air he had to surface and pull the cray pot off the bottom,” says Mr Cochrane.

The orca's tail was twisted in a crayfish buoy south of Hahei beach, just a few hundred metres from the shoreline. Orca sightings are common in this area.

The animal was tired and distressed when Mr Cochrane arrived, with injuries indicating he had been tied up for some time.

“There were cuts all over the orca's face, down the body and tail; he was bleeding a little bit.”

Mr Cochrane dove down to see how to untangle the crayfish pot.

“The whole time he was calling; I could hear vivid calls from the orca and just at the end there were five or six orcas including the bull.”

A knife was used to cut through the rope, the orca remained still throughout.

“He didn't seem to mind, or maybe even knew that I was trying to help him.

“The others were fine too, and not reacting like they would be in the wild. Maybe they knew I was helping him.”

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