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Rescuers rush to free huge humpback whale after it gets caught in 200m long net

A rescue operation is being carried out in a desperate last-minute bid to free a humpback whale after it was trapped in shark nets at sea.

The incident took place just outside the Coolangatta on the Gold Coast in Australia when the mammal became entangled in a net with several buoys seen attached to the whale.

Video shared on social media shows experts from Sea World rushing to the scene on a speedboat to remove the nets.

The whale, which is believed to be 10 years old, is seen spitting water out of the blowhole while it struggles to break free from the 200-metre-long entrapment.

According to 9News, the whale was first heard and spotted on Wednesday (Aug 11) by surfers just off the popular Snapper Rocks swimming spot near Coolangatta early morning.

The rescue team got on four vessels to assess the situation before cutting some of the ropes off the whale.

Griffith University's Dr Olaf Meynecke said the net is weighed down by two anchors – making the task all the more difficult.

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He said: "There's two anchors on that net, so it actually weighs the animal down."

The team used blades at the end of long poles to cut some of the ropes on the net, but will have to return to finish the task tomorrow.

Sea World staff this afternoon told local media they have placed a satellite tracker on the young whale and will continue its rescue operation at first light.

Some of the locals observing the rescue operation have again backed calls from environmental groups to scrap the dangerous shark nets.

"Isn't there proof that we don't need these things anymore?" one surfer asked.

"The shark nets are merely a tourist attraction; they don't keep the sharks out," another local said.

This is the first whale entanglement this year as whales head north for warmer waters during migration season.

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