Rescuers racing to free beached humpback whale on NSW mid-north coast

Between 6.


15am and 7 am this morning, Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) received multiple calls about a beached whale at beached in Sawtell, in northern NSW.

The 10-tonne whale was found stranded on the sandbar at high tide.

ORRCA vice president Shona Loriga said experts arrived on site “very quickly” following the phone calls.

There is currently a team of up to 60 people assisting the whale including volunteers from ORRCA, Dolphin Marine Magic, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Police.

#sawtellwhale update: est 1-2 years old, no obvious injuries. Vet assess to come on outgoing tide. NPWS @ORRCA_Inc & Marine Magic on site.

— Environment+Heritage (@OEHmedia) June 9, 2017

The priority is to complete a veterinary assessment on the whale.

Ms Lorigan said assessments can take time and high tide presents several challenges to vets completing assessments.

“We currently have the best-trained rescuers there,” she said.

Humpback whale beached at Sawtell, NSW.Office of Environment and Heritage

The young whale’s lack of experience in migration, poor health, east coast blows and rough surf conditions are possible reasons for its beaching.

The stress of stranding and constant “rolling in the surf” has taken its toll on the whale’s health, Ms Lorigan said.

#sawtellwhale: trained experts re-positioning whale to assist its breathing @ORRCA_Inc pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/tfrHWCBMbt

— Environment+Heritage (@OEHmedia) June 9, 2017

Senior Wildlife Officer Susan Crocetti said as they learn more about the whale’s health, experts will be able to plan a safe way to assist it in getting back out to sea.

The mid-north coast has seen previous success in assisting beached whales, although each situation is unique.

Long day ahead @ORRCA_Inc + Marine Magic + NPWS + vet onsite @ sub-adult #sawtellwhale. Low tide now. Assessing options for high tide. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/2DnpRhXpbr

— Environment+Heritage (@OEHmedia) June 9, 2017

Ms Crocetti said if beachgoers see a beached whale, their first priority should be personal safety.

“We don’t want anyone becoming injured trying to help a whale,” she said.

Ms Lorigan said it would be a “life-threatening” situation if someone became trapped underneath a whale.

“Situations like these require a multi-agency response,” she said.

Injured or distressed marine mammals should be reported to ORRCA’s 24-hour hotline on 02 9415 3333.

Stranded humpback whale at Sawtell, NSW. Stranded humpback whale at Sawtell