SIXTEEN PILOT WHALES have died after beaching themselves on the east coast of Scotland, officials said today.
Another 10 whales from the same pod also stranded themselves at Pittenweem, near St Andrews, but were refloated after being kept alive by vets from British Divers and Marine Life Rescue with help from the local fire and police services.
Another 24 whales from the same pod were swimming in the shallows three miles along the coast, and experts were fearful that they could also be beached by the rising tide.
The local coastguard was notified of the mass beaching at 7:00am, and there were soon 30 medics and 25 support crew from the emergency services on hand to try and save the six-metre mammals.
In the United States, 17 pilot whales died after beaching themselves Saturday morning at Avalon Beach State Park, on the east coast of Florida, despite efforts by volunteers and experts to save them.
Two other groups of whales swam onto beaches in North America – one in Cape Cod on Saturday and another in Canada on Sunday.
The causes of the events remained unclear.