Manta ray fishhooks rescue – five million views and counting

Incredible imagery of the rescue of a giant manta ray at Ningaloo in Western Australia from the torment of embedded fishhooks has attracted more than five million internet viewers worldwide.

Perth underwater photographer and wildlife guide Jake Wilton had been accompanying a group of snorkellers when the manta ray approached, seemingly asking for help.

The stricken ray unfurled its giant wings, facilitating closer access and the hooks could be seen near the its right eye. Holding his breath to get to the injured animal and after several diving attempts, Jake was able to remove the hooks.

Wilton had been diving with well-known United Kingdom broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls. Tourism WA arranged Halls’ trip and the filming of the dive experience as part of a campaign to encourage tourists from the UK to take a road trip in Western Australia.

Video footage showing the rescue of the manta ray quickly went viral after being distributed to media by Tourism Western Australia’s UK team.

The vision made local and national headlines, and has since recorded almost five million views online.

In the UK, the Freckles story attracted print coverage across most major newspapers and news channels, and in the USA it has been picked up by 50 news channels.

Click here to view the Tourism WA Ningaloo manta ray encounter.

Video credit: Seadog TV & Film Productions and Tourism Western Australia