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Stranded whales rescued after dozens beached in Scotland

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Volunteers and animal welfare workers attempt to rescue a large number of pilot whales beached near St Andrews in Scotland, Sunday.

Ten pilot whales were rescued and refloated Monday after they became stranded on a Scottish beach, according to reports.

The 20-foot whales were kept alive by vets and led out to deeper waters but 16 others could not be saved and died on the beach in Fife, on the east coast just south of St Andrews, Fife, The Scotsman newspaper reported.

It said volunteers joined the local coastguard, Fire Brigade, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, animal welfare charities and local vets during the rescue attempt.

21 whales beach selves in Florida, at least two die

Coastguard officials were alerted to the beaching, between Anstruther and Pittenweem, at 7 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) on Sunday, the BBC reported.  It said three of the whales that died were calves.

David Galloway, a fish filleter from Anstruther, told The Scotsman: “I went down to the beach at about 12 p.m. and I could see all the whales. It was horrible. I have never seen anything like it in my life.

“We were told we couldn’t go down on to the beach, but we could see rescuers beside the whales, they were trying to take care of them, trying to keep them moist. They were waiting for the tide to come in. It was just horrible.”

A coastguard spokeswoman said: “It is a very rare occurrence in Scotland and very sad.

“The usual scenario would be that the whale that is leading the group has become ill, or has lost its way, and gets beached and the rest will follow on. Although we do not know for sure if that is what has happened.”

Witnesses posted pictures of the rescue scene via social media, including Twitter.

It came after 21 short-finned pilot whales beached themselves along Florida's Atlantic coast on Saturday, leaving at least two whales dead.

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