In an incredible rescue mission, a stranded juvenile orca was saved after an hour-long effort by Good Samaritans in Alaska. The 20-foot-long (approx. 6 meters) killer whale washed up on Prince of Wales Island on July 29 and was stuck on rocks about 4 feet above the tide line. It was spotted by boaters, who informed the US coastguard. Soon after the news spread, locals rushed to the spot to help keep it hydrated by pouring buckets of water on it. Several pictures and videos of the rescue operation were shared on social media that got viral and won over millions of hearts worldwide.
Aroon Melane shared the video of the incident on Instagram where she narrated the details of the operation in the caption. Shared on August 3, the clip shows a group of people forming a human chain to pour buckets of seawater over the 13-year-old orca and later, they switched to using a water pipe to keep the mammal hydrated. It is reported that the aquatic being was stuck for almost six hours at the rocky beach until National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials arrived and were able to return it back to the ocean.
Melane wrote that they had sought permission from the NOAA to keep the whale wet and safe from animals until they arrived. She added that it might have been washed up ashore due to an 8.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the area a day before or it might have been hunting and hence, got stuck. Watch the video here:
Eventually, the officials came and when the tide was high enough, the orca was able to refloat itself and returned back to the sea. Melane shared that they named her Cassandra. Here are more pictures of the operation.
Melane’s Aunt Tara Neilson also posted the pictures of the whale on Twitter and wrote that in all her years that she has lived there; she had never seen or heard of something like this.
My niece Aroon is up here and found this stranded orca several miles from here. In all the years I've lived here I've never heard or seen anything like this. I have to wonder if the 8.2 #Earthquake was to blame. NOAA is on its way to try to save it. #offgrid #Alaska pic.twitter.com/m6GO1q8Vg1— Tara Neilson (@neilson_tara) July 29, 2021
The orca was floated by the tide at 3pm and swam around in a confused, meandering fashion but then got its bearing and caught up with its pod. My commercial fisherman brother said he listened on the marine radio as NOAA followed it and made sure it was doing well. Happy ending! pic.twitter.com/zJCSg6AmdG— Tara Neilson (@neilson_tara) July 30, 2021
Thankfully, the orca was floated by the tide, and swam away to be joined by its pod.