Sri Lanka’s navy and volunteers have rescued 120 pilot whales stranded in the country’s worst mass beaching, but at least two injured animals were found dead, officials said.
Sailors from the navy and the coastguard along with local volunteers had pulled back at least 120 whales by dawn on Tuesday after a gruelling overnight rescue operation, navy spokesman Indika de Silva said.
The school of short-finned pilot whales had washed ashore at Panadura, 15 miles (25km) south of Colombo, since Monday afternoon in the biggest mass stranding of whales on the island.
“We used our small inshore patrol craft to pull the whales one by one back into deeper waters,” De Silva told AFP. “Sadly, two whales have died of the injuries sustained when they beached.”