Long Beach SCE Crew Swoops in to Rescue Entangled Seagull

Passersby flagged down the workers for help after seeing the bird struggling with a fishing line that got caught in a palm tree.
Video Credit: Don Cordova

Martin Campos was driving his Southern California Edison truck to a late call about 4 p.m. in Long Beach recently when some people waved him over.

They pointed to a seagull that had gotten ensnared in some fishing line, which then had gotten caught in a palm tree. They asked if his SCE crew could help.

“The seagull was like a kite tied to the tree and flapping in the wind,” said Campos, the SCE crew foreman.

Campos directed his crew to park their bucket truck by the tree near Ocean and Bay Shore avenues.

Justin Ballesteros, a lineman apprentice, and his brother, Christian, a lineman, were hoisted in the buckets to reach the bird while lineman Matt Abrams and groundman Mark Okula helped from the street below.

An SCE crew from Long Beach rescues a seagull entangled in a fishing line.

SCE foreman Martin Campos (center) with lineman apprentice Justin Ballesteros (left) and lineman Christian Ballesteros. They recently helped rescue a seagull in Long Beach.
SCE foreman Martin Campos (center) with lineman apprentice Justin Ballesteros (left) and lineman Christian Ballesteros. They recently helped rescue a seagull in Long Beach.

Justin put on a thick rubber-lined leather glove to protect his arms. Then he grabbed the bird, which had a fish hook caught in its webbed foot. A fishing line attached to the hook had wrapped around the palm’s fronds. Justin freed the bird, which immediately flew away to the cheers of the bystanders who had stopped the crew.

The crew moved the boom up and Justin removed about 20 feet of remaining line from the tree. The whole rescue took about 15 minutes.

Campos said he’s been called a few times before to get animals down from trees or poles, usually cats, but this was his first seagull rescue.

“[The bystanders] told us the bird had been there for about two hours,” Campos said. “We were just trying to do the right thing.”