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Vietnamese help stranded whale return to sea

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 17:27 GMT+7

People and authorities in a north-central province of Vietnam have successfully helped a whale stranded on the beach return to the sea.

The whale was brought back to the sea at 12:35 pm on Wednesday, with support from local authorities and residents in Dien Chau District, Nghe An Province.

The whale, about 15 meters in length and 15-17 metric tons in weight, was found about 100 meters from the shore at around 3:00 am, Cao Hieu, an official said, citing the fishermen who spotted the marine mammal.

Some residents suspected that the whale stranded itself while feeding ashore as the tide rapidly decreased.

Noticing the whale was still alive, local officials sent two excavators along with people to dig a channel for the cetacean to return to the sea.

Many young adults tried to push the creature to help it approach the seawater.

When the whale managed to reach the deeper water, many clapped their hands in cheers and hoped it would be fine after over seven hours of stranding.

Pham Thi Hoe, a local resident, said that this was the first time she had seen such a big whale stranded on the beach.

“To local fishermen, the whale is the king of the ocean,” Hoe said.

“It is believed that fortune will arrive when one sees such a creature.”

Dwellers in nearby communes also flocked to the place, witnessing the rescue mission, local officials said.

“The whale is now in the seawater, but we still observe its health status as it is weakened due to the stranding,” Hieu told Tuoi Tre(Youth) newspaper reporters.

Seven whales have been stranded in Nghe An so far this year, officials said, adding that this is the first case in which a whale is alive and rescued.

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