HOBART, Australia — More pilot whales were found stranded in Australia on Wednesday, raising the estimated total to nearly 500, including 380 that have died, in the largest mass stranding ever recorded in the country.
Authorities had already been working to rescue survivors among an estimated 270 whales found Monday on a beach and two sand bars near the remote coastal town of Strahan on the southern island state of Tasmania.
Another 200 stranded whales were spotted from a helicopter on Wednesday less than six miles to the south, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service Manager Nic Deka said.
All 200 had been confirmed dead by late afternoon.
They were among 380 whales that had died overall, 30 that were alive but stranded and 50 that had been rescued since Tuesday, Deka said.
“We’ll continue to work to free as many of the animals as we can,” he said. “We’ll continue working for as long as there are live animals."
Watch their rescue attempts in this video from Twitter:
Rescuers in Australia are trying to save around 180 whales stranded in one of the country's worst beaching events.— SkyNews (@SkyNews) September 22, 2020
An estimated 270 pilot whales became stuck in shallow water on a sandbar off the Australian island of Tasmania.
More here: https://t.co/v5VJFLZp9f pic.twitter.com/jnfrFcsOml
About 30 whales in the original stranding were moved from the sandbars to open ocean on Tuesday, but several got stranded again.
About a third of the first group had died by Monday evening.
Tasmania is the only part of Australia prone to mass strandings, although they occasionally occur on the Australian mainland.
Australia's largest mass stranding had previously been 320 pilot whales near the Western Australia state town of Dunsborough in 1996.
The latest stranding is the first involving more than 50 whales in Tasmania since 2009.
Meanwhile, a humpback whale has found its way back to sea weeks after getting lost in a murky, crocodile-infested river in northern Australia. Here's video from that scene:
Here are more photos from the whale rescue scene:
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