In dayslong effort to save whales stranded in Fla., rescuers move from despair to optimism - InfoNews

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In dayslong effort to save whales stranded in Fla., rescuers move from despair to optimism

NOAA strandings official, Liz Stratton, informs reporters the pod in deeper water could reach as many as 30 animals and that they were about 11 miles offshore at midday,Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, in the Everglades National Park, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, Pool)
December 05, 2013 - 9:26 PM

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. - National Park Service volunteers Donna and John Buckley said they weren't optimistic that a pod of 41 stranded pilot whales would survive in shallow Florida Everglades waters. They and others had tried coaxing the animals to deeper water without success.

So the Buckleys said it was a big surprise when they discovered the whales had left the shallows Thursday, two days after they were discovered in distress.

Sometime overnight 35 of the whales had begun moving toward their natural, deep-water habitat.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials say the whales still face challenges and could turn back inshore. But officials were more optimistic that the whales might survive.

Eleven have died so far and five were unaccounted for Thursday.

A Coast Guard cutter was staying with the survivors.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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