Whale rescued at city beach: video, photos


Summary

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoSITTING in the back of his rented camper van in the Horseshoe Beach carpark on Friday morning, German backpacker Gerd Wiegmann initially thought his eyes were playing tricks when he saw a ‘‘big black fish’’ swimming in the Newcastle Harbour.
Nanjing Night Net

Rescuers push the whale out into the harbour at Newcastle’s Horseshoe Beach.

The 23-year-old followed the dark shadow around to the popular dog beach and watched it grow larger and larger until a 6-metre juvenile humpback whale came thumping onto the shore.

‘‘It was splashing and jumping around and another guy on the beach ran over to it and was trying to push it back in,’’ Mr Wiegmann said on Friday.

‘‘I went to help as well and there was about four of us trying to turn it around, it was very hard because he was lying on his fin and he was so heavy.’’

The small group – which included University of Newcastle student Xanthe Kerr and father-of-two Hayden Ferguson – successfully pushed the flailing whale off the sandbank and into deeper water.

But their rescue effort was far from done.

During the next half-an-hour or so, the humpback, which the National Parks and Wildlife Service said was likely sick or injured, floundered up and down the shore, attempting to beach itself four more times.

On each occasion the group of rescuers grew larger and more determined, finally standing waist deep in the water to prevent the whale from coming back to shore.

‘‘It swam in circles seemingly very confused and then headed into the deeper water of the main channel,’’ one of the rescuers, Benjie Williams, said.

‘‘The last I saw of it it was headed out through the heads towards the open ocean.’’

Mr Wiegmann said the experience of rescuing a whale was ‘‘incredible’’ and joked his friends back home would not believe him.

‘‘We were very happy when we saw it swimming back to the ocean, people were shaking hands and those on the beach were cheering,’’ he said.

Ms Kerr, who came to the beach to walk her dog, said she was shocked at first but quickly jumped into the water to join the others.

‘‘I always rescue the stray dog in the neighbourhood and take it to the vet, I can’t help myself,’’ she said.

‘‘But I’ve never done anything on this scale.’’

National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Jo Erskine said the whale was possibly ill and would most likely try to beach itself again.

‘‘We’ll keep an eye on it, if it’s beached itself multiple times then there is always a reason for that,’’ she said.

‘‘If it comes back then we would cordon off the area so it doesn’t get distressed and get a vet, someone who is experienced in marina animals to come down and assess it.’’

Whale protection group ORCA member Trisha White urged people to call the authorities if they witnessed a whale beaching.

Nobbys beach lifeguard Travis Lynch said the whale looked injured and may have been attacked by a shark.

‘‘It just looked like it was having trouble swimming, but a few members of the public said that it had puncture wounds so it might have got attacked by a shark or something,’’ he said.

‘‘And it also had damage to one of its fins.’’

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Xanthe Kerr talks with NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Xanthe Kerr talks with NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Xanthe Kerr talks with NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. National Parks and Wildlife Rangers at the beach. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Trisha White , ORCA member. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. one of the rescuers Gerd Wiegmann from Germany. Picture Darren Pateman.


Please enable Javascript to watch this videoSITTING in the back of his rented camper van in the Horseshoe Beach carpark on Friday morning, German backpacker Gerd Wiegmann initially thought his eyes were playing tricks when he saw a ‘‘big black fish’’ swimming in the Newcastle Harbour.
Nanjing Night Net

Rescuers push the whale out into the harbour at Newcastle’s Horseshoe Beach.

The 23-year-old followed the dark shadow around to the popular dog beach and watched it grow larger and larger until a 6-metre juvenile humpback whale came thumping onto the shore.

‘‘It was splashing and jumping around and another guy on the beach ran over to it and was trying to push it back in,’’ Mr Wiegmann said on Friday.

‘‘I went to help as well and there was about four of us trying to turn it around, it was very hard because he was lying on his fin and he was so heavy.’’

The small group – which included University of Newcastle student Xanthe Kerr and father-of-two Hayden Ferguson – successfully pushed the flailing whale off the sandbank and into deeper water.

But their rescue effort was far from done.

During the next half-an-hour or so, the humpback, which the National Parks and Wildlife Service said was likely sick or injured, floundered up and down the shore, attempting to beach itself four more times.

On each occasion the group of rescuers grew larger and more determined, finally standing waist deep in the water to prevent the whale from coming back to shore.

‘‘It swam in circles seemingly very confused and then headed into the deeper water of the main channel,’’ one of the rescuers, Benjie Williams, said.

‘‘The last I saw of it it was headed out through the heads towards the open ocean.’’

Mr Wiegmann said the experience of rescuing a whale was ‘‘incredible’’ and joked his friends back home would not believe him.

‘‘We were very happy when we saw it swimming back to the ocean, people were shaking hands and those on the beach were cheering,’’ he said.

Ms Kerr, who came to the beach to walk her dog, said she was shocked at first but quickly jumped into the water to join the others.

‘‘I always rescue the stray dog in the neighbourhood and take it to the vet, I can’t help myself,’’ she said.

‘‘But I’ve never done anything on this scale.’’

National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Jo Erskine said the whale was possibly ill and would most likely try to beach itself again.

‘‘We’ll keep an eye on it, if it’s beached itself multiple times then there is always a reason for that,’’ she said.

‘‘If it comes back then we would cordon off the area so it doesn’t get distressed and get a vet, someone who is experienced in marina animals to come down and assess it.’’

Whale protection group ORCA member Trisha White urged people to call the authorities if they witnessed a whale beaching.

Nobbys beach lifeguard Travis Lynch said the whale looked injured and may have been attacked by a shark.

‘‘It just looked like it was having trouble swimming, but a few members of the public said that it had puncture wounds so it might have got attacked by a shark or something,’’ he said.

‘‘And it also had damage to one of its fins.’’

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Picture Gerd Wiegmann

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Xanthe Kerr talks with NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Xanthe Kerr talks with NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Xanthe Kerr talks with NPWS Ranger Jo Erskine. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. National Parks and Wildlife Rangers at the beach. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. Trisha White , ORCA member. Picture Darren Pateman

Scenes from the baby humpback whale rescue at Horseshoe Beach, inside Newcastle Harbour on Friday. one of the rescuers Gerd Wiegmann from Germany. Picture Darren Pateman.