A blue whale that is believed to be tangled in fishing line may be in Mexican waters, authorities said Monday.
The 80-foot mammal was last seen Friday between Los Angeles Harbor and Catalina Island. It was trailing about 400 feet of line with a 3-foot buoy attached.
The whale was spotted at 10:30 a.m. Monday, about 19 miles southwest of the southernmost Coronado Islands, which are about 19 miles south of San Diego.
The blue whale was traveling southeast, according to a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has contacted a Mexican rescue team.
Officials were advising people who may come across the whale to keep at least 1,000 feet away and not try to touch the line. If possible, stay near the animal until rescuers arrive, officials said.
Blue whales typically swim about 13 mph but can go as fast as 30 mph, and they usually dive less than 350 feet to feed but are capable of plunging more than 1,600 feet beneath the surface.
Blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, can grow to more than 100 feet long and weigh 150 tons. About a quarter of the estimated worldwide population of 10,000 congregate in the waters off the West Coast of North America.