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The Vancouver Aquarium says its staff have rescued a killer whale that was trapped in a remote bay along B.C.’s central coast.Handout

The Vancouver Aquarium says its staff have rescued a killer whale that was trapped in a remote bay along B.C.'s central coast for at least three weeks.

The aquarium says two researchers with the federal Fisheries Department who were conducting a whale survey spotted a juvenile killer whale named Sam about three weeks ago in a bay on Aristazabal Island, south of Kitimat.

The whale appeared to be calling for its family, but, for reasons that aren't clear, would not pass through the bay's narrow entrance to return to the open water.

A research scientist with the Vancouver Aquarium, Lance Barrett-Lennard, visited the whale a week later and determined the animal was in good condition, but when he returned last Saturday, the whale's health appeared to be deteriorating.

Barrett-Lennard worked with the Fisheries Department to plan a rescue, and on Thursday, they enticed the whale to leave by towing a floating line toward the bay entrance while playing whale calls from outside the harbour.

Barrett-Lennard says the whale shot through the bay's entrance "like a cork" and was last seen heading to sea while calling for its family, but aquarium researchers are asking boaters to keep an eye out for the whale and contact the aquarium if they see it.