A giant manta ray has been filmed asking a diver to help save its life after it recognised them as a regular visitor.
Jake Wilton, an underwater photographer who guides tourists around Australia’s Ningaloo Bay, spotted the creature, known as “Freckles”, in distress.
He was was diving with British TV broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Hall on Ningaloo Reef, in Western Australia when the ray approached them.
The extraordinary footage shows the 30-year-old manta ray seek aid in removing the hooks.
The manta ray turns on her back and spreads her wings as several divers attempt to remove the hooks from under Freckles’ eye.
Jake said: “I’m often guiding snorkellers in the area and it’s as if she recognised me and was trusting me to help her.
She got closer and closer and then started unfurling to present the eye to me. I knew we had to get the hooks out of her eye or she would have been in big trouble.”
Monty Halls, who was aboard the boat when the scene was captured, said: “Jake went down and down again. She never moved. I’m sure that manta knew that Jake was trying to get the hooks out.”
Jake added: “I went down for one last try and the manta stayed completely still in the water.”
Mr Halls, who was aboard the divers’ boat during the incident said that the manta ray must have known that Jake was trying to help.
“Jake went down again and again and again and the animal didn’t move away.
“I think the manta knew that Jake was trying to get the hooks out.”
“That’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen underwater.”
Manta rays are believed to be some of the most intelligent creatures in the ocean.
Unlike stingrays, they don’t have an external spike and are totally harmless to humans.
Manta Rays can grow up to 7 meters wide and live for around 50 years.
Experts believe that the injured manta’s eye could have become infected, leading to blindness and even death.