13 Nov 2017

Orca stranded on Marlborough beach refloated

4:35 pm on 13 November 2017

An international defence operation has refloated an orca stranded on a Marlborough beach.

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Project Jonah marine mammal medics caring for the orca on the beach this morning while defence force personnel dig a channel to provide deeper water for floating the orca into the sea. Photo: Supplied / DOC

Department of Conservation staff were told about 10.30am yesterday the orca was stuck on Marfells Beach.

DOC's Sounds operation manager, David Hayes, said members of the New Zealand, United States, Australia and Canada defence forces were in the area for training, and pitched in to help with the rescue.

They dug a trench to make a channel for a pontoon to float the whale out to deeper water as the tide came in early this afternoon.

Mr Hayes said he was very grateful for the help given by defence personnel, and whale rescue groups.

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The orca being refloated on a pontoon. Photo: Supplied / DOC

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