Rescue operation tows whale out to sea

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A large whale that surprisingly swam into the Oslo Fjord was found stranded in shallow water early Tuesday at Hvalsund on the islands of Hvaler outside Fredrikstad. “Hval” means whale in Norwegian, but the huge mammal was clearly out of its element.

Local fisherman Jan Arill Nilsen first spotted the whale when he was out on his boat Tuesday morning. He initially thought it was another boat that had overturned in stormy weather during the night.

After discovering that it was a whale measuring as much as 15 meters long (around 50 feet), Nilsen called for help. The rescue vessel Horn Flyer arrived and after a few hours, rescue workers including the boat’s crew, divers and representatives from the state wildlife agency had managed to tie a rope around the whale’s tail. The whale was then towed farther out to sea.

The whale showed some strength through resistance but biologist Jan Ingar Båtvik worried it was not healthy and may be dying. “It would have behaved differently if it was healthy,” Båtvik told NRK.

Fjordside residents near Drøbak, farther north of Hvaler, had also spotted a large whale earlier this week in waters off Hurum. It was unclear whether it was the same whale that later stranded almost next to the pier at Hvalsund.

For photos from the rescue, see NRK’s coverage here (external link).

newsinenglish.no staff