Stranded whale freed from Palm Beach

UPDATE: The young whale stranded at Palm Beach is finally free.

Bystanders cried with joy as they watched the juvenile humpback head back out to sea after being stuck on the beach for over 36 hours.

After several failed attempts, Sea World Rescue Crews were finally able to pull the whale through the rising tide and back into deep waters.


The rescue crew will continue to monitor the whale this morning.

Rescue crews try to pull the whale out to sea this morning. PHOTO: myGC

Rescue crews try to pull the whale out to sea this morning. PHOTO: myGC

EARLIER THIS MORNING: SEAWORLD rescue crews will head to Palm Beach at first light this morning to attempt to send a beached baby whale back out into the ocean.

The juvenile has been stranded on the shore since around 7:00pm on Tuesday night.

Crews attempted to save the humpback several times throughout the day yesterday, with each attempt unsuccessful.

Seaworld decided to call of all rescue efforts in the late hours of last night as the operation was becoming too dangerous for all involved.

The decision to call off the rescue attempt appeared to not sit well with many bystanders, with several members of the public deciding to take matters into their own hands and attempt to refloat the whale themselves.

LAST NIGHT: Under the cover of darkness, more than 20 people stormed past police and rushed into the water where they tried frantically to push the giant off the sandbar and out to sea.

Instead, they only made matters worse, with the whale having turned to now face the shore, which makes it harder for the whale to move with the outgoing tide.

Lauren Halverson was there and said, although an incredible sight to see, the group have undone the work of Sea World officials.

It was quite an incredible sight watching the mass of people running past police into the water to the whale,” she said.

“However, the whale was clearly distressed by what they were doing and they ended up spinning it back to face the shore, undoing the work of Sea World.

“I know the intentions were the best, but the whale is now worse off.”

Authorities remain on scene and will stay with the whale, which appears in good condition, until the situation is reassessed at first light.

The whale has been stranded since around 6pm Tuesday.

Night Whale

Bystanders storm past police and into waters to try save stranded whale. IMAGE: Lauren Halverson SOURCE: Supplied

5.45PM – Wed: A LARGE group of bystanders have taken matters into their own hands, rushing into the surf at Palm Beach to try and push a juvenile whale off a sandbank and out to sea under the cover of darkness.

In extraordinary scenes, soon after Sea World officials packed up for the night, the group broke from an exclusion zone and bolted past police and into the water – ignoring advise from authorities.

Rescuers started wrapping up around 5pm due to safety – HOWEVER – staff will remain on scene with the whale throughout the night and into the morning when the situation will be reassessed.

5.10PM – Wed: IT may be another day yet before a young whale stranded on a Gold Coast beach could be freed.

Yet another attempt to tow the mammal out to sea during high tide this afternoon has failed.

Rescuers are wrapping up their operations for the night, due the dangers of being in the water under the cover of darkness.

There will be no more rescue attempts until first light, when officials will reassess the situation.

It’s hoped the tide may carry the giant out to sea tonight.

It is expected that Sea World staff will stay with the whale, which remains stuck on a sandbank in the shallow surf at Palm Beach, and monitor its condition overnight.

The juvenile humpback has now been stranded for almost 24 hours, after first becoming beached around 6pm on Tuesday.

Traffic in the area has been thrown into chaos as thousands of spectators start to make their way home.

4.25PM – Wed: RESCUERS are attempting to attach a harness to a young whale struggling to swim free from Palm Beach.

The whale broke free from crews around 3pm but didn’t get far after becoming caught on a sandbar roughly 20m from the shore.

Officials say the mammal is now in deep enough water for Sea World crews to try and tow it back out to sea.

It has been tossing and turning, and thrashing its tail in the wave-break for around an hour.

3.30PM – Wed: A JUVENILE whale which has been stranded on a Gold Coast beach since Tuesday night made a move for deeper waters but is now stuck on a sandbar.

The mammal started tumbling in waves at Palm Beach as the high tide started to roll in earlier than expected around 3pm.

It has moved only slightly, now stuck on sandbar roughly 20m from the shore, thrashing its tail and attempting to refloat itself.

3.00PM – Wed: RESCUERS are struggling to keep a young whale upright as high tide approaches.

The exhausted mammal rolled onto its side, covering its blowhole, around 2.50pm as waters begin to rise.

Crews are trying frantically to roll it back onto its belly.

It’s understood a second attempt to tow it back out to sea will be carried out within two hours, if the whale does not free itself in the meantime.

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12.50PM – Wed: EXCAVATORS are dredging sand from around a juvenile whale stranded on a Gold Coast beach.

It’s hoped the process will make it easier for rescue crews to refloat the whale during high tide around 5pm this afternoon.

Bystanders first spotted the 10m giant in distress in the shallow waters of Palm Beach around 6pm Tuesday.

Previous attempts to tow the mammal back out the sea failed when the rope snapped – three times.

Four excavators and one frontend loader are now on scene, assisting with the mammoth operation.

Despite its circumstances, the calf appears in good condition.

myGC - Whale - 1

9.00AM – Wed: Multiple attempts to pull a young whale stranded at Palm Beach back out to sea have failed.

Sea World marine staff desperately tried three times to tow the juvenile out to sea, but the rope connecting the whale’s harness to the Sea World boat continued to snap.

The whale will now remain stranded on the beach until high tide at 5pm, when rescuers will attempt to refloat the whale.

The whale has been covered with tarps to keep it cool and crews continue to monitor it’s health.

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Sea World’s rescue crew trying pull the whale back out to sea. PHOTO: myGC

6.30AM – Wed: CREWS are currently working to move a juvenile whale stranded on Palm Beach.

Sea World are currently working to pull the whale off the beach within the next half hour.

They’ve reportedly strapped a harness around the whale and will use a rope attached to a boat to tow it out into deeper waters.

The whale reportedly seems in distress and has been heard crying out but those at the beach say the whale seems to be breathing fine at this stage.

Authorities were first alerted after witnesses spotted the young humpback distressed in shallow waters at Palm Beach around 7pm on Tuesday.

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Crews work to rescue whale stranded at Palm Beach. PHOTO: myGC

FIRST REPORT – Tuesday: A GROUP of strangers have descended on a Gold Coast beach to try and help a young distressed whale caught in shallow waters.

Witnesses spotted the beached whale in the area of Seventeenth Avenue, Palm Beach around 7pm and alerted authorities.

myGC published the first photo of the incident, showing bystanders in the water attempting to haul the gentle giant out to sea to no avail.

Beached - Palm Beach - Whale - Kris Islam

STRANDED: Humpback calf beached on the Gold coast. IMAGE: Kris Islam SOURCE: Supplied

A dozen people, including Seaworld staff, are now on scene trying to determine the best way to free the exhausted mammal.

A small audience, including media, has gathered on the sand to watch the major rescue, but police have asked people to stay away.

They warn a crowd will only cause the animal more distress.

Earlier today, an adult humpback whale had to be rescued south of Byron Bay after it spent hours caught in an offshore fishing net.

BEACHED WHALE: Locals rush to rescue whale stranded on Gold Coast beach

FIRST PHOTO: Strangers rush to help beached whale on the Gold Coast. IMAGE: Matt Knott SOURCE: Supplied