Beached sperm whale freed in China after 20-hour rescue | World

A 70-ton sperm whale that beached itself in China is back at sea after an intense 20-hour rescue operation.

Fishermen spotted the 19-meter long whale washed up in the eastern county of Xiangshan, Zhejiang province, yesterday morning and reported it to the police.

As the tide receded officers trekked through a kilometer of mud to reach the stranded whale, who was found to have an injured head and tail and peeling skin, according to Xiangshan police.

Rescuers poured water on the stranded whale to keep it cool

VCG / GETTY IMAGES

An initial rescue attempt involving five boats and a helicopter failed as the muddy terrain meant vehicles were unable to reach the whale. Hopes of saving it appeared to be fading by the afternoon.

Chen Jian, director of the museum of marine biology at Zhejiang Ocean University in Zhoushan,

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