When this commercial fisherman saw a humpback whale in distress, he did not hesitate to leap into action – literally.

Sam Synstelien and his crewmates were on their way back to shore in Morro Bay, California last month when they saw the massive mammal swimming in circles.

The whale was entangled in a rope that was tethered to a buoy. The fishermen radioed for help, but the coast guard said that they would not be able to assist the whale for several hours.

After their boat spent an hour monitoring the whale, Synstelien then took matters into his own hands by jumping onto the whale’s back and cutting the ropes free.

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Before the fisherman was in the water, the whale had been desperately trying to dive into the water to escape the rope – but according to the fishermen, the mammal stayed in place during Synstelien’s rescue efforts.

Synstelien finally managed to cut the whale free, and as it swam back out to sea, the fishermen can be heard cheering wildly.

Though the dramatic whale of a tale had a happy ending, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns viewers not to undertake such risky maneuvers in the future.

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“While we are relieved the fishermen were not harmed and the whale may have been freed, we fear this video is a very dangerous example, and may encourage others to attempt such a response in the future,” said the agency, according to the San Francisco Gate. “Even authorized, trained responders have been killed while attempting to disentangle whales using the best techniques and specialized equipment.

“Best practice for dealing with an entangled whale is to never get into the water with it, as these animals are very powerful and dangerous in close proximity. In addition, every entangled whale is not necessarily in imminent danger, meaning that there is time to wait for the authorized responders and not requiring these types of emergency actions. And cutting just the visible lines may not totally free the animal, making it harder for responders to help.”

(WATCH the video below) – Photo by FV_Persistence

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