A heartbreaking sight in Florida on Saturday as nearly two-dozen whales were stranded on a beach. Hundreds of residents in Fort Pierce tried to help, but only a few are expected to survive.
Hundreds of volunteers came out to haul the whales and pour water in the hope that the 22 pilot whales that washed ashore at Avalon Beach would live. Among the volunteers was a husband and wife team, Missy and Brent Tugus. The couple got to work on the whales when they were found trapped along the beach.
Missy and Brent Tugus said, "They were getting crushed by the waves and they kept getting turned sideways. Their blow holes were getting covered in water. They were literally drowning because whales are mammals. They need oxygen to survive."
Beached mammal experts took five of the smallest whales for treatment at Harbor Branch Marine Mammal Research and Conservation. Those whales were said to be the most likley to recover. They are receiving around the clock care.
The goal is for them to be moved to Sea World in Orlando for long-term care before eventually being returned to the ocean.
Autopsies will be performed on the deceased whales to try to figure out what caused them to become stranded.
First Coast News