In what is billed as the first ever rescue operation of its kind, a massive whale calf (baby) which was stuck on the famed Ganpatipule Beach on Monday, was finally rescued and successfully pushed back into the Arabian Sea early on Wednesday, a local resident said.
The mammoth operation involved the district fire brigade, police, fisheries department, Indian Coast Guard and local volunteers who toiled to save the whale against a possible death after it got beached here and lay helpless in the shallow sandy waters during the low tide.
The hapless calf whale was noticed on the beach, stuck in the sand and furiously struggling to get into the sea waters, by some locals and tourists around dawn and alerted the local police and fisheries department, and the ICG which got into the act.
The baby mammal measured around 30-feet long and was estimated to weigh more than four tonnes, making it a difficult rescue missions. Two cranes were deployed to help out.
At one point, a team of veterinary doctors administered fluid to the bewildered and struggling mammal to ensure it survived the ordeal.
The rescue teams tied belts and a rope net to haul it to the waters, though it reportedly suffered a minor injury near the tail portion.
Finally after many hours of patience and hard work, the rescue teams managed to push it back in the sand, virtually inch-by-inch, till it could comfortably swim into the sea and return to its freedom in the deep waters – as louds cheers and claps went up from the assembled crowds of onlookers, locals and tourists.
Officials monitoring the developments said that after it went back to safety in the deep waters, the calf whale was visible at least thrice at some distance from the beach and then finally disappeared into the waters, indicating that it was healthy and unharmed post-rescue.
Earlier, at least two attempts proved unsuccessful and the calf whale was pushed back to the shore, compelling the rescuers to start over again till they conquered the challenge.