Australia rescuers refloat stranded young whale

Marine rescue workers attempt to help a juvenile humpback whale stranded at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast, in Queensland on 9 July 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rescuers spent two days working to return the whale to the sea

Rescuers have managed to free a young whale stranded on a beach in Queensland, Australia, for two days.

The whale, thought to be a two-year-old humpback, beached on Palm Beach south of Brisbane late on Tuesday.

Rescuers had made several attempts to refloat the juvenile whale. Early on Thursday, it was fitted with a special harness and towed out to sea.

A marine official said she was "cautiously optimistic" that the whale would now survive.

"It's been through quite an ordeal," Tacha Mulligan, the marine animal supervisor at Queensland's Sea World marine park, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Rescuers would continue to monitor the whale during the day, she said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Experts said the mammal was a two-year-old humpback
Image copyright AFP
Image caption A harness was used to pull the whale off the sand and into deeper water

Five previous attempts to return the whale to the sea had ended in failure.

Humpbacks migrate north from Antarctica to warmer waters off Queensland in winter. Beachings happen from time to time but experts do not know what causes them.

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