Advertisement

Two grey whales rescued after getting beached in Boundary Bay

WATCH: 2 beached grey whales regain buoyancy in Boundary Bay, B.C.

Two grey whales have been rescued after getting beached in South Delta Friday.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the whales were discovered “partially stranded” in low tide off Centennial Park in Boundary Bay just before 4 p.m.

Officials from the Vancouver Aquarium said the whales are a mother and her calf.

READ MORE: Orca sighting in Vancouver inner harbour shows health of transient killer whale population: researcher

The DFO said the whales were still alive when they were found, launching a rescue mission to get the animals back into the water with help from Delta police officers.

“They just went too far and got caught up in the tide,” DFO’s marine mammals coordinator Paul Cottrell told Global News soon after the whales were discovered.

Story continues below advertisement

“The tide has just changed so we’re going to assess that going forward, and hopefully be able to refloat them and get them back into deeper water.”

Cottrell added several people were in the water getting a look at the whales, and warned those spectators to stay at least 100 metres back for their safety.

WATCH: The tide is coming in and things are looking good as rescue workers look to save two grey whales that got stuck near Boundary Bay. Catherine Urquhart reports.

Signs of progress in rescue of beached grey whales near Delta
Signs of progress in rescue of beached grey whales near Delta
“[The whales] are likely quite agitated right now, so any sudden movement could make the area very unsafe,” he said. A containment area was set up to keep people out.

One witness said they were able to wade out far enough to see the animals up close.

WATCH: Sophie Lui reports on the rescue operations before the tide started to come in

Rescue underway for two beached grey whales near Delta
Rescue underway for two beached grey whales near Delta

“It looked like one of them was breathing every 10 minutes or so I think,” Rob Amar said. “The tide came up to my waist when I was out there, so hopefully it all works out.”

DFO marine mammal rescue crews used re-flotation devices to try and move the whales further out from the shallows.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: Grey whales spotted in Metro Vancouver

Grey whales spotted in Metro Vancouver
Grey whales spotted in Metro Vancouver

By 6:30 p.m., the tide had come in enough that the whales had started moving again, but it wasn’t yet clear whether they were able to swim out to deeper waters.

Closer to 8 p.m., the slightly dazed whales were making their way back into the ocean fully freed.

Several grey whales have been spotted foraging in shallow waters in the Boundary Bay area recently, and DFO is urging people to keep their distance on the water as well.

On Thursday, grey whales were spotted near White Rock and in the Indian Arm between Belcarra and Barnet Marine Park.

—With files from Robyn Crawford and Catherine Urquhart