A pod of killer whalers was on the hunt for seals along the remote coast of British Columbia, Canada. A typical hunt soon became a life or death situation for one of the orcas.
A young female orca made a decision that left her stranded and stuck on an outcropping of rocks. The terrified and confused whale was exhibiting serious signs of stress — she was overwhelmed and in pain as her massive body is perched on sharp rocks.
When rescuers spotted the stranded whale, they immediately started to do everything they could to try and comfort her. It was a traumatic situation for every involved.
The rescuers were heartbroken as they listened to the beautiful orca let out cries of terror and pain.
George Fisher heard a sailboat call in over their radio about the distressed whale — he immediately gathered a group of volunteers to try and help free the trapped orca. The whale didn’t have much time; her skin was drying up more and more as the tide went out.
Hermann Meuter is a whale researcher that helped respond to the rescue efforts. They quickly began covering the stranded killer whale with wet blankets and dousing her with buckets of salt water. She was starting to calm down.
When the rescuers first arrived, her breathing was fast and heavy; as they began to cover her with wet blankets and salt water, she started to relax.
“I think she knew that we were there to help her,” Meuter recalls of the rescue.
Many people would have thought that they could tie a rope or harness around the whale and drag her out to sea; however, since she was stuck on sharp rocks, that move would have most likely been fatal. These rescuers knew exactly what they needed to do to save her.
All the rescue team could do was keep her calm, comforted, and constantly covered in wet blankets and buckets of seawater. The only choice was to wait for the tide to rise.
The rescue team worked diligently and tirelessly for eight long hours to make sure that this beautiful sea mammal was going to survive. Using hoses, multiple buckets, and giant soaked comforters — they were able to let the orca see another day.
When the tide was high enough to cover the rocks, the killer whale was free to swim away. Her pod was waiting for her out in the distance, and the rescuers said that they could tell that they were communicating. It was an absolutely amazing sight and feeling for all of those that were there to witness it.
The entire rescue effort was caught on camera — it’s an absolutely incredible moment to watch.
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