Tangled Up in Blue Balloon: Diver Releases Trapped Ray

Divers off the coast of Victoria, Australia, rescued a ray trapped by a fishing line and a balloon, with footage of the tangled sea creature shared to Instagram on December 26

Jules Casey, who frequently posts footage of what she sees below the waves off the coast of Mornington Peninsula to her OneBreathDiver Instagram account, shared footage of the rescue, which occurred while diving at Rye Pier with friends.

Casey captioned the footage with a note that she and two friends had seen a number of rays “circling around chasing the fishermen’s baited hooks” during their dive, when they noticed what Casey identified as an eagle ray laying in the sand, in distress.

One of Casey’s friends “immediately grabbed her line cutter”, while she put down her camera to help free the ray. Once the items were removed, Casey said the ray swam “away free”.

However, when she went back to shore and spoke to a local fisherman, she said she learned more about the ray’s predicament.

“You can see by the marks on the ray that it had been fighting for its life,” she wrote, adding that the fisherman she spoke to had “witnessed” the ray being caught and pulled to the surface, with marks on its back “possibly from hitting the pier as it was pulled up to the surface”.

Casey continued, “The fisherman said the weight of the ray eventually broke the line. Which unfortunately means it still has the hook in its mouth. At the time I didn’t think to check underneath as it was struggling to break free and we wanted the tail debris removed quickly.”

As for the item itself, she said the blue balloon and fishing line combination was, according to the same local fisherman, due to “a guy who was on the pier the evening before using balloons with a light inside and bait hanging from them.” Credit: Jules Casey via Storyful

Video transcript

[UNDERWATER BREATHING]

- This is what we've just found, tangled around. That's nasty. So they balloon the bait out. That's disgusting. What the hell?