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Whale refloated from Christchurch beach

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/06/2016

Hundreds of people turned out to help refloat a whale stranded on a Christchurch beach.

Two whales were discovered stranded on Waimairi Beach early on Sunday morning and one had died.

Members of the public formed a chain on the beach to pass buckets of water along to keep the surviving whale wet under the supervision of Department of Conservation staff and Project Jonah volunteers and a trench was dug.

The surviving whale was released back into the sea at about 2.45pm on Sunday.

It was thought to be a pilot whale but Project Jonah identified it as a false killer whale.

The organisation said this was only the third time a false killer whale had stranded in the South Island, with the last one being in 1984.

Daren Grover from Project Jonah told NZ Newswire there was a big cheer when the whale was refloated and it swam away strongly.

"The good news is it hasn't restranded on the beach at all," he said.

He said lots of members of the public came down even though the organisation usually only called for help when there was a large stranding.

There were a couple of hundred people to rescue one whale but everyone happily got on with the task.

"There were people baking and bringing soup down at lunch time," he said.

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