Stranded 10-Tonne Whale Dies Despite 6-Hour Rescue Op

Story By: Ana Lacasa, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

Video Credit: CEN/@Armada_Chile

This is the tragic moment rescuers battle for six hours to rescue a beached 10-tonne whale but fail in their efforts to stop the huge mammal from dying.

The incident occurred on Tongoy beach in the northern Chilean region of Coquimbo after the fin whale (Balaeonoptera physalus) was found beached in the shallows.

Images show how the rescuers used a mechanical digger to try and lift the whale, reportedly eight metres (26 feet) long and weighing over 10 tonnes, off the sand and back into deeper water.

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Picture Credits: CEN/@Armada_Chile

A video shows the fin whale lying in the shallows before rescuers can be seen trying to roll it back into the ocean.

After the stranded whale was spotted the Chilean Navy and locals worked for more than six hours to try and return it to the ocean.

The Chilean Navy eventually confirmed the whale’s death and recommended the animal is buried to prevent it becoming a hazard for ships if it is left to float in the ocean.

Navy Sergeant David Zamorano told local media: “Even though we could not save the whale, the work done by the local community who cooperated with the rescue operation at all times should be highlighted.”

Local media report some local residents were angered by the fact the Navy did not appear to have a clear plan to return the whale to the water.

The municipality of Coquimbo are yet to decide on how to dispose of the whale’s body, according to reports.

It is unclear why the whale became stranded but marine authorities say fin whales go into the shallows to look for food.

Local media report rising temperatures in the Southern Ocean could be to blame as more salpa, a species similar to jellyfish which reduces the amount of krill in the area, have been generated.

The fin whale is the second-largest species on Earth after the blue whale.

Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.