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Stranded killer whale free after getting stuck along Alaska coastline

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU/Gray News) - A 20-foot orca beached on the shore of Prince of Wales Island is back in the ocean after good Samaritans took care of it for hours until the tide came in.

Julie Fair with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the killer whale was able to refloat with the rising tide after getting stuck on the rocky beach, KTUU-TV reported.

The ship M/V Steadfast initially reported that the orca was 4-5 feet above the tide line.

The NOAA gave the Steadfast’s captain and crew authorization to use a seawater pump to ensure the killer whale was wet and to keep away any hungry birds or animals.

Before the ship’s crew set up the pump, good Samaritans threw buckets of water on the orca.

A law enforcement officer with NOAA eventually took over observing the killer whale, along with Alaska Wildlife troopers until it was back in the ocean.

“Our officer and troopers report the whale was a bit slow at first, and meandered around a little before swimming away,” Fair wrote.

No other orcas were seen in the area, according to Fair.

NOAA Fisheries said it would examine photos and video taken at the scene to determine if the killer whale was in its records and to assess any injuries.

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