This brave sailor dived off the side of a cargo ship to save a whale that had got stuck in a fishing net.

In astonishing video footage, the crew of the Bahamas-registered Cheikh El Mokrani can be seen gesturing at each other on deck as the fish writhes in the waters below.

After a moment's consideration, one man hurls himself off 40-foot-high (12-metre-high) deck and lands just feet away from the giant fish, the Daily Mail reported.

The crew member swims towards the whale and pushes its nose away from the net. He is soon joined by another man and together they push the fish free.

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A cheer goes up from the deck as the whale swims back into the ocean.

Reacting to the rescue on April 19, YouTube users praised the bravery of the sailors.

Tom Scott said: "The feat was and is amazing to watch, it's good to see people who care and is willing to risk life and limb to save our planet."

And John S wrote: "Fantastic humanitarian act of kindness, I applaud them."

Cheikh El Mokrani was the leader of an Algerian uprising against the French in 1830.