Rescue operation saves beached whale

By Paul Johnston at

A whale that beached off the coast of West Kirby was successfully refloated following an operation earlier today.

The alarm was raised this morning when the 13.5 metre fin whale was spotted in the Dee estuary after beaching on the sand on the outgoing tide.

Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity enlisted the help of local boatmen to assess the situation, amid concerns it might not survive.

Fortunately, the mammal managed to refloat itself on the incoming tide, and swam off towards deeper water.

The whale as it refloated. Photo credit: Graham Barber

In a post this evening on Facebook, the rescue charity said: “After the whale refloated on the tide this afternoon it spent some time reorienting itself in the estuary, circling the rescue boat with our team on board a few times and gaining strength in its breathing and swimming action.

“It was last seen heading out of the estuary towards open water. There have been no reported sightings since.

“We are cautiously optimistic that this has been a successful reflotation of the young fin whale, and we would ask people in the local region to please keep an eye out for it over the weekend as it may well remain in the area and there is still the possibility it may re-strand.

“We’d like to thank all our volunteer medics who attended today as well as those assisting in the background, and of course all of the local people and¬† boat operators who gave their support throughout the day to help achieve this outcome.”

The whale was last seen heading to open water. Photo credit: Graham Barber

You can donate to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue here.

UPDATE 13/6/20: Sadly the whale has since beached again, and although it has now refloated, rescuers are not confident about its chances of survival. Follow our social media channels for further updates.

UPDATE 14/6/20: The whale beached again late on Saturday night, and rescuers now say there are no signs of life and they believe it has passed away.

Top photo credit: Chris Cureton