SYDNEY (Reuters) – Rescuers set free around 25 whales on Tuesday that were marooned on a sandbar off the remote west coast of Tasmania in one of Australia’s worst beaching events, and hope to save more in coming days.
Government scientists said about 90 of the 270-strong pod of pilot whales have died since they were spotted from the air in shallow water off the rugged coastline on Monday.
Footage showed large numbers of the animals prone on a wide sandbar at Macquarie Harbour, about 200 kms (120 miles) northwest of the state capital Hobart, while others floundered in slightly deeper water.
Rescuers had to get in the icy water to attach the whales, a species of oceanic dolphin that grow to 7 metres (23 ft) long and can weigh up to 3 tonnes, to slings and then guide the animals as boats dragged them out to
1. Wide shot a stranded whale lies still in the shallow water2. Mid shot rescuers move a whale from a trailer back into deeper water3. Mid shot rescuers stand with a whale4. Mid shot a stranded whale splashes in the shallows5. Mid shot rescuers stand with a whale
///———————————————————–AFP TEXT STORY:
newseriesHopes fade for more survivors in Australia mass whale stranding By Mell Chun, with Andrew Beatty in Sydney
ATTENTION – ADDS quotes from rescuer, local community ///Macquarie Harbour, Australia, Sept 24, 2020 (AFP) – Only a few dozen of the 470 whales stranded on Australia’s coast can still be saved, rescuers warned Thursday, as they weighed euthanising those animals in most distress. At least 380 pilot whales have died since their pod was discovered beached on Tasmania’s rugged western seaboard four days ago — Australia’s largest-ever mass stranding.Around 70 of the