Stranded orca saved by New Zealand soldiers

An orca stranded on a New Zealand beach has been rescued by soldiers and charity workers.

The whale was stuck on Marfells Beach until the army, along with rescuers from charity Project Jonah, managed to move the mammal at high tide back into deeper waters.

Amazing footage shows more than a dozen people trying to help the stranded whale. 

The whale was first reported more than 24 hours before being refloated.

Rescue workers monitored the whale overnight after an unsuccessful attempt to move it back into the water. 

At first light the next day, army personnel came down to the beach to try again.

They helped dig a trench in the sand, about 1m deep and 20m long, and dragged the whale along it and back into the water.

The whale was swimming again by 1.30pm.

“We are thrilled to report that the refloat this afternoon was a success and the orca is now swimming freely in deeper water!!” Project Jonah tweeted.

The New Zealand Army added on Twitter: “Job well done, awesome teamwork by all involved!”

Many social media users congratulated the rescue workers.

It is not clear if the orca has yet found its pod.

The Department of Conservation replied: “It is thought a pod of orca may have been offshore yesterday but we had a light plane search the sea around Marfells Beach and no orca were seen. We will monitor the surrounding beaches, and hopefully they can reconnect.”



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