‘Man in tinny’ fined after cutting baby whale free from shark nets off Burleigh Heads

UPDATE @ 1.00PM | The ‘man in a tinny’ has confirmed that he’s been fined, after cutting free a baby whale that was trapped in shark nets off the Gold Coast this morning.

A drone operator spotted the stranded whale just after 7.00am, however it wasn’t freed until around 9.30am.

It’s understood rescue crews from Seaworld were on standby, but were waiting for the go ahead from the Department of Boating and Fisheries.


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Meantime, a man in a tinny jetted out himself, diving in the water and cutting free the whale before speeding off.

He’s since spoken to reporters, confirming that he’s been fined. However he won’t say what for.

EARLIER @ 9.45AM | A ‘man in a tinny’ has sped out to the shark nets in Burleigh Heads this morning, to help free a baby whale trapped there.

The whale was initially spotted just after 7.00am by a local drone operator, and Seaworld rescue crews were called in.

It’s understood the crews were nearby in the water, however remained on standby due to a suspected communication issue with the Department of Boating and Fisheries.

Sunrise reports that a civilian has then jetted out in his tinny to the scene, where he dived into the water to cut the whale free himself.

The man has risked heavy fines for interfering with the state government’s shark net program.

It’s understood the whale was freed, and the man sped off down south in the boat.

The whale’s condition is still unknown.

EARLIER @ 8.30AM | A baby whale has been spotted trapped in the shark nets at Burleigh Heads this morning.

A drone operator made the discovery around 7.30am, reporting the whale looked slightly smaller than normal, speculating it may be a baby.

Seaworld crews are now on their way to the scene, to help free the whale from nets.

Sunrise reporter Bianca Stone is on scene with drone operator James Kable, who says the small whale is very distressed.

“I got up here for a bit of a sunrise with the surfers, and flew out over the nets and saw what looked like a really large mass down there.

“Which is very unusual, obviously the nets are normally quite straight and often very hard to see, and I noticed that there was what looks to be quite a small whale – so it could be a baby I’m not sure.

“Very distressed, still trying to breath, just on the surface at the moment, so a little bit concerned for that little guy out there,” Mr Kable told Sunrise.