Incredible underwater footage shows a group of divers in the Maldives freeing a whale shark that had become entangled in fishing rope.
In December 2019, tour operators Simone Musumeci and Antonio Di Franca of Macana Maldives were leading a group of divers off Fuvahmulah Island when they spotted the shark.
It took about 10 minutes for the group of divers to cut through the fishing rope, which was tied between the shark’s head and pectoral fins.
As the divers were cutting through the thick rope, the shark kept swimming, dragging them about 45 feet below the surface as they worked.
Finally, they cut through. While the whale shark was left with indentations from the rope digging into its back and fins, it was once again able to swim freely.
Simone recalled the moments after the shark was freed to the Daily Mail: “When the rope finally came off, the animal stood still for a moment, as if it realized it was free, then it slowly swam downwards into the depths of the sea. A few moments later, it appeared again and swam closer to us like it wanted to thank us.”
“It was one of the most beautiful experiences of our lives,” he says. “We will never forget it.”
After giving the shark a final send-off, the divers took the rope to the surface to discard.