Diver rescues shark trapped on reef by fishing gear
A dive instructor in Hawaii capped off a recent expedition by saving the life of a young whitetip shark in a spectacular rescue that was caught on camera.
Accompanying footage, captured by Rachel Gillis, shows the shark attached to a coral head by fishing line, with the hook attached to a steel leader in its mouth.
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David Prutow of Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures spotted the shark resting on the sand next to coral at Horseshoe Reef off Hawaii’s North Kohala Coast.
Prutow was hoping to remove the hook, but the shark became aggressive during the effort.
“At first I thought I could try and take down the shark because it was obviously in distress and not moving,” Prutow told FTW Outdoors. “It was tangled and pinned to the coral head with a coiled line. I wasn’t too thrilled about it [first] So I had to step back and wait for him to stabilize to try and cut the line as close to his mouth as possible.
Prutow added: “It was a bit sketchy, but I was confident I could help without hurting myself.”
In the video, the shark swims after the leader has been cut off. Prutow said he expects the hook to come out of the shark’s mouth over time.
Kate and Jaycee Butler are the divers observing the rescue in the video.
Kate described the encounter: “Our group of four divers were about five minutes from the end of the dive when we encountered this juvenile shark. It took a moment to figure out why he wasn’t swimming. Once I realized what I was looking at, my heart sank. He was entangled and could barely move.
“Dave didn’t hesitate and immediately got to work. At some point in the process, the shark came back to life and it looked like Dave might get bitten as he worked to remove the hook and cut the line. It was a huge sigh of relief when we could see that the line was finally cut without hurting Dave or the shark, and the shark had enough energy to swim to the depths.
“This shark would surely have died if we hadn’t encountered it.”