Rescue of last stranded Australian whale halted

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2011 10:29 PM
Rescue of last stranded Australian whale halted

Worsening weather has forced Australian authorities to postpone efforts to save the last surviving whale in a mass stranding that has killed 25 of the creatures.

Twenty-two sperm whales and two minke whales died after getting stranded Saturday on or near remote Ocean Beach in Tasmania. Four more sperm whales got stuck on a sandbar in nearby Macquarie Harbour but survived longer because they remained partially submerged.

Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Jane Lovibond says crews freed two of those whales Monday by dragging them out with giant nets. She says another whale died overnight and the fourth remains trapped on the sandbar.

Lovibond says the wind and swells make rescue work unsafe now, and that officials will reassess the weather Wednesday.