ENVIRONMENT
09/16/2014 02:06 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2014

Divers Save HUGE Manta Ray Tangled In Fishing Line

A manta ray is swimming free off the Costa Rican coast today, thanks to a group of divers who cut the animal from a tangle of fishing line last Monday.

The divers, who hail from an organization called Oceano VideoSub, said they were near Costa Rica's Bat Islands when the massive creature approached them with fishing line cutting into its flesh, as if to ask for help.

According to the YouTube description, diver Brian Thompson approached the "peaceful" manta ray and gently cut away the fishing line, finally freeing the animal as it enveloped him in its massive wings.

One of Thompson's diving companions, Thomaz Monteiro, told Australia's Ninemsn the ray proceeded to swim with the divers for around 30 minutes after it was freed.

"All the divers felt a deep connection with this amazing animal," Monteiro added. "There are no words to describe this feeling."

The Florida Museum of Natural History reports giant manta rays can grow to an incredible maximum span of 29.5 feet across, though most average around 22 feet. The animal is classified as "vulnerable," as their large size and slow speed make them easy fishing targets.

WATCH the divers save the manta ray, above.

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