Manta rays are some of the most remarkably mysterious creatures found in the ocean. Shaped just like a B-2 stealth bomber, their fins can grow to lengths of nearly 30 feet across and their mouths are large enough to swallow a human whole.
But despite being intimidating at first glance, manta rays are actually gentle, social animals that often interact with humans while feeding near the water’s surface.
Having the opportunity to spend time in the company of a massive manta ray is one of the most incredibly moving and humbling experiences anyone can ever have. So, when a group of divers were exploring off the coast of Costa Rica, they were ecstatic when one appeared out of the blue and began approaching them.
“It was the first time I saw a manta ray. There was a very profound interaction between her and the diver,” Thomaz Monteiro told news outlet G1 Globo.
Instead of swimming away from the divers, the manta ray circled them, almost as if it were asking for their assistance. That’s when they noticed it was caught in some debris from a fishing net and slicing into her flesh. One diver, Brian Thompson, got close enough to remove the rope and set her free.
“I felt so strong a love for her and happiness to know that she was free and could enjoy her life again,” said Thompson.
It has been said that manta rays are very curious and gentle, if approached properly, “will interact and dance with you for hours on end.” This one in particular hung around for about 30 minutes after being freed and then swam off into the deep.
Watch the manta ray rescue in the clip above.