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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 21 April, 2014

Army called in to help whale beached in Co Meath

The mammal was successfully refloated. Sadly, another whale also washed ashore today has died.

File photo of a pilot whale fin
File photo of a pilot whale fin
Image: AZAdam via Flickr/Creative Commons

MEMBERS OF THE Defence Forces stationed at Gormanston helped steer a confused pilot whale back to sea this morning.

The 2.5 tonne mammal became stranded on the shore between Laytown and Gormanston earlier, and was spotted by a local at around 9am.

An alert went out, and a co-ordinated effort was made to refloat the animal and help it make its way out to open water.

Alongside the army, members of the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service and the crews of the Skerries Coastguard and the Skerries Lifeboat all took part.

Spokesman for BFRRS, Robbie Farrell told local radio station LMFM the entire effort took “between an hour and forty minutes to two hours”.

Unfortunately, another pilot whale was found dead this afternoon in the county – further up the coast at Mornington.

The 15 foot juvenile was discovered shortly after midday close to the the sea-wall at the mouth of the River Boyne, some 7 km from Drogheda.

Coastguard officials and a ranger from the National Parks & Wildlife Service all attended the scene. It’s not known whether the animal died out to sea, or whether it became stranded and died later.

A spokesperson for Meath County Council told TheJournal.ie that a veterinary inspection of the whale would be carried out in the morning, once tidal conditions permitted.

It’s expected the carcass will be buried below the shoreline at low tide tomorrow, the spokesperson said.

Read: Iceland resumes disputed fin whale hunt >

Watch: Baby penguin is LOVING her first swim at Dublin Zoo >

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