Australian charter boat captain Joe Brogan, 42, surprised his crew last week when he dived into the water equipped with little more than a knife. His target was a humpback whale calf, and his goal was to free it from the trap lines that it was entangled in.

“We watched the calf for about 15 minutes and when it became clear it wasn’t getting itself free, I dove in without a second thought,” Brogan told The West Australian.

The crew first spotted the whale off Geraldton, Western Australia. The young whale seemed to be confused by the boat’s arrival, and initially tried to dive deeper. Unfortunately, a trap line tied several times around its tail meant it was not going anywhere soon. Brogan later said that he knew there might be sharks in the water, which was one of the reasons why he dived in so urgently.

“That is a meal on a string for a great white shark, they love them,” the veteran angler told ABC. “It was going to drown, or it was going to get eaten.”

Brogan directed his crew to tie the crayfish buoy to their boat while he cut the lines holding down the calf. The video of the rescue quickly garnered praise for the charter boat captain, but Brogan said that he was just happy to help.

Image screenshot of video by Percita on YouTube

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