A humpback whale was rescued in Australia after crews tried for two days to guide the 20-ton mammal back into the sea.
The ordeal began Tuesday at Palm Beach, where the young male humpback was spotted on the beach. Rescuers sprang into action, but at first their efforts only hindered matters. A group of surfers tried to guide the humpback into the ocean, but they ended up turning it so it faced the wrong direction.
A second attempt to rescue the humpback ended when a rope snapped and left the animal stuck on a sand bar, where onlookers saw it thrashing its tail in an attempt to break free.
On Wednesday, rescue crews were finally able to flip the young humpback back to face the right direction, which allowed it to return to deeper water when the high tide came in on Thursday.
“Congratulations to all involved in the rescue of the juvenile humpback whale,” Sea World Gold Coast said in a Facebook post Thursday. “Everyone did an amazing job and we are so proud of everyone’s tireless efforts.”
Officials from Sea World remained at the site overnight, some not sleeping for the duration of the 48-hour rescue in order to make sure the animal remained healthy.
Experts in Australia said the humpback was rescued just in time.
“We were working against the conditions, time was running out,” a Sea World spokesperson told ABC News. “We’re cautiously optimistic it will be ok from here on in.”
The humpback whale rescued in Australia became big news, with television stations following along live and capturing dramatic images as crews of 20 people or more worked to push the whale back toward the ocean.
Tacha Mulligan, a marine animal supervisor at Sea World, said the humpback whale rescued in Australia will likely face a recovery period once it reaches the deeper waters of the ocean. She said though the whale is exhausted, “he’ll get past those breakers, have a rest, recoup and get his energy back.”
[Image via The Huffington Post]