Video: Minke whale stranded on beach in Elie refloated
The Minke Whale was discovered on a beach in Elie, Fife, on Friday night, prompting a rescue operation involving volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue RNLI lifeboat from Anstruther.
The mammal became stranded on a rocky reef and was assisted by lifeboat crews and BDMLR volunteers who said she had taken “a slight battering” and had superficial cuts on her body.
A spokesman from BDLMR said: “As she was quite active and partly in the water, it was a real struggle for the team to get her afloat again as she was trying to swim off the reef but the lack of depth was against her.
“Eventually the team were able to get her afloat and moved her to slightly deeper water - she was swimming shallowly by this time.
“Suddenly she swam off the mat and was again herded away from the rocks by the boat. Due to it being pitch black by now, the team lost sight of her but she had been heading out to sea.”
A beachwalk on Saturday brought no further sightings of the whale and rescuers believe she made it back to open water.
Anstruther RNLI were paged to assist in freeing of a 21ft whale on Friday evening.
The operation involved two lifeboats, BDMLR, Coastguard, Police Scotland and the SSPCA, who all helped in rescuing and re-floating the whale.
An RNLI spokesman said: “After a successful first re-float of the whale, our D Class lifeboat joined the teams initially to steer the whale away from returning to the coastline but a second grounding unfortunately occurred.
“The BDMLR team deployed a re-floatation pontoon which allowed the Minke whale enough water to float once again and, with gentle encouragement, the whale was freed.”
RNLI crew member Kevin Calder said: “We arrived on scene and began in the initial task to deter the whale from returning to the coastline but the depth of the water meant the whale was able to swim underneath our lifeboat.
“We were delighted to assist in the successful second re-floating and would like to commend the efforts of the other services involved in this incident.”