More than two dozen pilot whales beached themselves on the beach in Fife, Scotland, just south of St. Andrews. Ten were refloated and returned to deeper waters after being stranded however, sixteen other died on the beach.
Veterinarians were on the scene and did what they could to keep as many of the 20-foot creatures alive while rescuers worked to get them back in the water. Volunteers from all over came to help the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the Fire Brigade, local coastguard, several animal charities and the local vets get the animals to safety.
News of the beaching between Anstruther and Pittenweem reached the coastguard early Sunday morning on August 26. Among the whales that died were three calves.
Local fish filleter, David Galloway of Anstruther, visited the beach around noon and was horrified by the spectacle, something he has never witnessed before. Visitors were not allowed on the beach while the rescuers were working but the sight could be observed form a short distance away where others had gathered to hold vigil. They watched as the rescue workers worked to keep the whales moist while waiting for the tide to come in.
According to a spokeswoman for the coastguard, whale beaching in Scotland is very rare. There is no telling why the whales chose this spot to beach themselves. In most cases, the lead whale becomes lost or ill and beaches itself with the rest following suit. It has not been determined what caused the beaching in Scotland.
Fortunately, the ten that were saved headed out to sea and seemed healthy according to officials on the scene.