MOSS LANDING (CBS/AP) — Officials say a fisherman spotted a distressed humpback whale that was entangled in Monterey Bay and followed the animal until rescuers arrived, helping to save its life.

California Whale Rescue director Kathi Koontz told the Monterey Herald Friday the whale would have died if the fisherman John Favazza hadn’t stayed with it.

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She says Favazza was on his boat Thursday morning when he saw the 35-foot-long humpback whale entangled with crabbing gear.

The whale had nylon rope from a crab trap tangled around its mouth and other parts of its body. A team worked for five hours to free the animal Thursday.

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Kootnz says without help the wealth would have died from her injuries.

Humpback whales are feeding in Monterey Bay this month as part of an annual migration north from Baja California.

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