Dozens of whales strand at infamous New Zealand bay | New Zealand Information

Rescuers are fighting to save 49 long flippered pilot whales at Farewell Spit Bay, where at least 10 pilot whales have been stranded in the past 15 years.

Rescue workers ran Monday to rescue dozens of pilot whales that were stranded on a stretch of New Zealand’s coastline notorious for mass stranding.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) announced that the pod of 49 long-finned pilot whales was found early Monday in Farewell Spit, about 90 kilometers north of the tourist town of Nelson on the South Island.

By the afternoon, nine of the whales had died and more than 60 people were working to keep the survivors alive to get them back afloat at high tide, the DOC said.

“Marine mammal medics are helping to get the whales back afloat and to care for them on the beach. They stay cool and wet until they can be made afloat,” said a DOC spokeswoman.

Farewell Spit is a 16-mile (16-mile) sand hook jutting out into the sea at Golden Bay.

At least 10 pilot whales have been stranded in the last 15 years, most recently in February 2017 when nearly 700 marine mammals beached and 250 people died.

Scientists aren’t sure why the beach is so deadly, although one theory has it that the spit creates a shallow seabed in the bay that disrupts the whales’ sonar navigation systems.

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