An absolute disaster has struck New Zealand after around 400 whales were found thrashing tales in distress and stranded on a beach on Thursday causing the death of around 300 whales, the situation worsened this morning when another 240 arrived in the same place causing more chaos for the many volunteers trying desperately to refloat the desperate whales. Earlier on Saturday, volunteers had refloated some 100 of the more than 400 pilot whales which beached on Thursday.
But a human chain, with volunteers wading neck-deep into the water, failed to prevent a fresh pod making landfall.
Photo Los Angeles Times
The stranding now involving around 640 whales is thought to be one of the worst ever in the world.
More than 300 of the 400 original arrivals died while medics and members of the public tried to keep survivors alive by cooling them with water.
It is hoped that those of the new arrivals that survive can be moved back out to sea during the next high tide in daylight on Sunday.
It is not clear why the whales continue to arrive on the 5km-long (three miles-long) beach next to Golden Bay.
One theory is that they may have been driven on to land by sharks, after bite marks were found on one of the dead whales.
Herb Christophers of New Zealand's department of conservation told the BBC that the whales were trying to get round the top of South Island, but if their navigation went wrong they ended up on the beach.
In the shallower waters, the animals' use of echolocation was impaired.
"It's a very difficult place if you get lost in there and you are a whale," he said.