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A killer whale stranded on rocks in Alaska was saved after a group of people spotted it and kept it wet until the tide rose

INSIDER logo INSIDER 8/1/2021 kvlamis@insider.com (Kelsey Vlamis)
a close up of a rock next to a body of water: The orca was stranded above shoreline on rugged rocks. Danie Jay © Danie Jay The orca was stranded above shoreline on rugged rocks. Danie Jay
  • A killer whale got stranded on rocks above the shoreline in Alaska on Thursday.
  • A group of people helped save the whale by spraying it with water until wildlife officials arrived.
  • Six hours after the orca was spotted ashore, the tide rose and it was able to swim out to sea.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A killer whale stranded on rugged rocks above the shoreline in Alaska on Thursday was saved after a group of people kept it cool with water until wildlife officials arrived.

The orca was seen ashore on Prince of Wales Island off the coast of British Columbia in the morning by people in a boat, Tara Neilson, who lives in the area, told Insider. Her niece, Aroon Melane, who was in the area visiting family, heard about the stranded whale and decided to go help.

Melane and her friends stepped in to help the whale before wildlife officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could arrive. The group used buckets to splash water onto the whale, which had also been injured on the rock.

Melane posted a video of the experience on her TikTok, where she said the whale started to get more "lively" after being splashed with water.

The group in the boat anchored and was able to use a hose to spray the whale with seawater, Chance Strickland, the captain of a private yacht, told The New York Times. In addition to keeping the whale cool, the water helped keep away other animals, like birds, that might have started eating it otherwise.

a group of people on a rocky hill: A group of people spray a stranded killer whale with sea water in Alaska. Jen Tee Photography © Jen Tee Photography A group of people spray a stranded killer whale with sea water in Alaska. Jen Tee Photography

"I don't speak a lot of whale, but it didn't seem real stoked," Strickland told The Times. "There were tears coming out of its eyes."

Officials eventually arrived and about six hours after the 20-foot-long whale was spotted, the tide rose enough for it to swim back out to sea an NOAA spokesperson told The Times.

Canadian officials said the orca was a Bigg's killer whale, according to The Times. Also known as West Coast transients, Bigg's orcas are known for hunting other marine mammals.

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