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Manta ray 'asks' divers for help removing a fish hook

The nearly 10-foot-wide manta ray has been friendly with the hundreds of visitors to the Ningaloo Reef off Western Australia.
FILE: Manta ray (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Freckles the manta ray has charmed hundreds of visitors to the Ningaloo Reef off the western coast of Australia. 

A group of snorkelers, however, realized their recent encounter with Freckles was anything but ordinary. The nearly 10-foot-wide manta ray had a fish hook near her eye, The Times in the UK reported.

Underwater photographer Jake Wilton, from Ningaloo Marine Interactions, was one of the people in the water, The Sun reported.

"I'm often guiding snorkellers in the area and it's as if she recognized me and was trusting me to help her," Wilton said to The Sun.

TV broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Hall posted a video of the interaction on Facebook, saying Wilton dove down repeatedly to try and remove the hook while Freckles stayed still.

"That manta absolutely understood what was going on," Hall said. "Jake went down again and again and she just remained still for him."

If Wilton hadn't removed the hook, it could have gotten infected and blinded Freckles or even killed her.

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