Rescuers refloat 66 pilot whales stranded in New Zealand

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Rescuers on Saturday refloated 66 pilot whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand as a race to save their lives continued.

Nearly 200 whales were beached Friday in Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island.

Scores got back in the water, only to return to land — leaving more than 100 dead.

When the incident started, 140 conservationists and experts rushed to water down the giant mammals, cover them and try to refloat them back into the water.

“Refloating stranded whales is a difficult and potentially dangerous job,” said Andrew Lamason, the department’s services manager for Golden Bay.

The stranding of large sea mammals is nothing new to New Zealand, where the Department of Conservation responds to an average 85 such incidents a year.

But most of the time, it’s just one or two whales or dolphins. Mass strandings are rare, especially on the scale of what’s happening around Golden Bay.