Tragedy as whale rescue fails
A desperate rescue bid to help save a whale which beached repeatedly on the Dee Estuary near Greenfield, Wales has ended in tragedy.
Local fishermen and marine life rescue medics scrambled to aid the animal, and there were hopes it had survived after it was successfully re-floated and it began heading out to sea.
But the 30ft long fin whale – named Henry by rescuers – was found stranded once again on a sand bank near the mouth of the estuary, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Rescuers said it was far too dangerous to send anyone out there to see if it was still alive.
A team from the Coastguard and a licensed drone pilot with permission to fly the area observed it from a distance, before confirmation came that there were no signs of life.
In a post on its Facebook page, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) group said: “The area is extremely dangerous due to tides and quicksand and we would strongly urge that people must not enter the estuary in any kind of attempt to get near it and put themselves in unnecessary danger.
“Nobody has any need or reason to go near it now except for the authorities who are now involved with retrieving the body.
“Once again we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has been involved with this harrowing ordeal over the last couple of days, but also for the huge amounts of public support that the team have received from you all both in person and online.”
Cocklers and fishermen joined members of BDMLR to try to save the whale. BDMLR – who co-ordinated the rescue effort – says the marine mammal, which weighs approximately 14 tonnes, had gradually being crushed under its own weight.
The rescue was described as an “exhausting effort”, with a water pump being used throughout the day to help medics gather buckets of water to keep the animal’s skin wet and prevent it from drying out. Sheets were also placed over the whale’s back to help make it comfortable, but the team said “there is not a great deal else that could be done”.