Dozens of beachgoers helped save a pod of beached whales

Multiple pilot whales beached themselves on St. Simons Island in Georgia.

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 12:36 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2019 4:45 PM


Dozens of beachgoers stepped in to help several pilot whales that beached on a coastal Georgia island on Tuesday, according to local authorities and videos shared on social media.

Dixie McCoy, who witnessed the rescue and posted live footage of it on Facebook, told CNN at least 20 whales came near the shore of St. Simons Island's East Beach.

About five or six whales from the pod beached themselves, and bystanders worked to push the animals back to sea, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) spokesman Tyler Jones told CNN in an emailed statement.

'As we arrived at the beach, we noticed a group of people in the water. At first we thought they had dolphins doing some sort of show,' McCoy said. 'As we got closer, we couldn't believe what we saw.'

'It was so sad to see so many whales on the beach,' she continued. 'Everyone was trying so hard to get them back in the water. '

It is unclear why the animals beached on the island, although pilot whales 'are among the most likely species of whale to beach,' according to the DNR. 'They are highly social animals and will frequently follow leaders and attempt to congregate around sick or injured individuals,' the DNR said.

'While stranding is a known natural occurrence, the only thing we can do is to continue pushing them out to sea,' wildlife biologist Clay George said in a separate statement that the DNR released Wednesday.

Thanks to the volunteers and first responders, the majority of whales made it back to the water to continue their journey, the DNR said.

Two of them died -- one on East Beach, and the other about half mile south of St. Simons Pier on private property, the department said.

The corpses of the two animals are slated for removal and will be taken to a wildlife management area for necropsy.

Glynn County's emergency management agency called the incident 'an unusual occurrence' on a Facebook post, adding that events like these 'can really show the level of care and support from our community.'

Pilot whales are members of the dolphin family and second in size only to the killer whale, according to the American Cetacean Society.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 98447

Reported Deaths: 2072
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27557932
Ramsey11167323
Dakota7692126
Anoka6281137
Stearns409424
Washington391855
Scott264833
Olmsted253528
Nobles197916
Blue Earth17366
St. Louis172542
Wright17017
Carver14467
Clay142441
Rice13478
Mower13446
Sherburne117714
Kandiyohi10563
Winona92018
Lyon7334
Waseca7228
Benton5633
Steele5552
Crow Wing55418
Nicollet54717
Freeborn5464
Watonwan5354
Chisago5171
Todd5072
McLeod5022
Le Sueur4764
Otter Tail4694
Beltrami4605
Martin44611
Goodhue3899
Pine3550
Douglas3522
Itasca35215
Polk3274
Isanti3191
Becker2842
Carlton2791
Morrison2702
Dodge2610
Pipestone23810
Chippewa2321
Cottonwood2290
Meeker2132
Wabasha2060
Sibley2023
Yellow Medicine1982
Brown1962
Cass1864
Rock1810
Redwood1783
Murray1742
Mille Lacs1693
Renville1618
Jackson1531
Unassigned15352
Faribault1470
Swift1441
Fillmore1330
Houston1300
Kanabec1288
Roseau1260
Koochiching1233
Hubbard1221
Pennington1201
Lincoln1180
Stevens1071
Pope1000
Aitkin841
Big Stone830
Wadena730
Wilkin713
Lac qui Parle681
Grant634
Lake600
Norman560
Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse340
Clearwater310
Lake of the Woods241
Kittson120
Cook70

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 87828

Reported Deaths: 1332
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16113264
Woodbury559768
Johnson517927
Black Hawk454192
Linn4163114
Story348517
Dubuque340242
Scott309528
Dallas282938
Pottawattamie220139
Buena Vista200312
Marshall179434
Sioux17073
Wapello134157
Webster131714
Plymouth118221
Clinton113921
Muscatine112855
Crawford11086
Cerro Gordo106421
Warren9696
Jasper87034
Des Moines8068
Henry7734
Marion7728
Tama75332
Carroll6955
Lee6527
Wright5971
Dickinson5426
Boone5268
Bremer5067
Washington48511
Delaware4413
Louisa43415
Mahaska42720
Lyon3754
Jackson3583
Floyd3573
Franklin35218
Clay3434
Winneshiek3408
Benton3381
Hamilton3343
Winnebago32313
Hardin3111
Poweshiek3118
Buchanan2921
Jones2893
Kossuth2860
Butler2792
Emmet27510
Chickasaw2701
Shelby2701
Clarke2693
Clayton2683
Sac2670
Allamakee2656
Guthrie2649
Harrison2593
Cherokee2572
Cedar2531
Fayette2382
Madison2342
Grundy2294
Iowa2221
Palo Alto2080
Hancock1992
Mitchell1970
Humboldt1943
Howard1927
Mills1911
Page1910
Calhoun1883
Osceola1770
Cass1762
Pocahontas1662
Monona1621
Monroe16211
Lucas1566
Appanoose1443
Union1423
Jefferson1401
Taylor1341
Davis1284
Ida1281
Fremont1220
Keokuk1191
Van Buren1181
Worth1090
Greene1050
Montgomery995
Audubon891
Wayne882
Adair731
Decatur670
Ringgold532
Adams330
Unassigned140
Rochester
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 59°
Mason City
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 64°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 61°
Austin
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 63°
Charles City
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 63°
Winds pick up for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events